Parliamentary Friends of Colombia condemns recent killings in Colombia
The Parliamentary Friends of Colombia, which represents more than 80 Members of the UK Parliament, condemns the recent wave of assassinations of political activists and human rights defenders in Colombia. We are shocked that in the space of just 48 hours, three social leaders were assassinated in Colombia and two more suffered attempts on their lives. All of those killed were members of the social and political organisation Patriotic March - we wish to express our support to the organisation.
We are alarmed by the targeting of community leaders throughout the country and the reports of a rise in paramilitary activity and specific threats against those campaigning for peace. This weekend's killings come after a number of assassinations of political activists over the last few months, reaching a total of 70 people killed this year according to human rights organisations.
In this crucial moment for Colombia, as the Colombian government and the FARC reach a new peace agreement, we believe it is imperative that civil society activists are protected from paramilitary violence and that the Colombian government puts into effect the special unit for dismantling paramilitary organisations, outlined in the peace agreement.
We also call on the UK government to make a statement about the human rights crisis in Colombia and the current threats to human rights defenders. We are more than aware of the dangerous precedent of the genocide of the Patriotic Union in the 1980s. We reiterate the support of the international community for the peace process in Colombia and we call for the immediate protection of human rights defenders, social and political movements against paramilitary violence in Colombia.
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