Community leader and human rights defender assassinated in Antioquia

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 13 February 2017

Luz Herminia Olarte, a community leader and human rights defender, was assassinated on 7 February. She was the president of the Community Action Committee in Yarumal, Antioquia Department.

The human rights observatory the Colombia-Europe-United States Coordination Group (CCEEU) in Antioquia denounced that 19 social leaders have been murdered so far this year, with 5 of those killings in Antioquia. Óscar Olarte, a member of the Coordination, said that "she was viciously murdered" and although the authorities had been alerted to previous threats against the leader "the authorities did nothing". The Coordination demanded guarantees from the government and investigations into all the murders of leaders.

Olarte also said there is a concern in the communities and human rights organizations about the paramilitary presence in the region and that the paramilitary organisation the Autodefensas Gaitanistas had been active in areas where the Colombian army is present without the authorities taking action.

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