Hernán Bedoya, ¡Presente! Tell the US State Department and Embassy to Act to Protect Colombian Social Leaders

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Yesterday, on Friday, December 8th, community leader Hernán Bedoya from the collective territory of Pedeguita and Mancilla was assassinated. Hernán was a both a partner and friend of Witness for Peace, and today our hearts are heavy with his loss.

According to the Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz Hernán was shot several times while he was on his way home. Sources suspect he was murdered by paramilitaries from the group Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia.

Take action now to condemn this assassination

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As we've noted before, between January and August of this year alone, over 101 social leaders were murdered in Colombia. Threats and assassinations have continued at an alarming rate. These assassinations largely target activists who are working towards communal change and protecting their territory, crops and livelihoods. And as the lives of social leaders in Colombia are in constant peril, more broadly, so is peace itself.

Please join Witness for Peace in supporting our Colombian partner organizations’ demands, including that the US State Department and US Embassy officials in Colombia contact the Colombian government and demand:

·         Immediate, effective protection of the families of Hernán Bedoya and Mario Manuel Castaño, communities in the Urabá region, and all social leaders and human rights defenders throughout Colombia.

·         A strong condemnation by the US State Department of the ongoing threats and assassinations of social leaders and increased pressure to fulfill the ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

·         Prompt and complete implementation of the peace accord with the FARC (and the forthcoming accord with the National Liberation Army (ELN), when completed), including meaningful inclusion of Afro-descendant and Indigenous peoples. throughout the implementation process.

·         Protection of of Indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples’ territorial and other collective rights, provided through meaningful inclusion and consultation with Afro-descendant and Indigenous peoples.



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