Community leader assassinated in Medellin

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 6 March 2017

Alicia López Guisao, a community leader and peasant farmer activist, was assassinated in the city of Medellín on Thursday 2 March. Alicia was shot dead by two armed men as she visited family in the city. She was only 32 years old.

Alicia was a prominent community leader and member of the civil society organisation the People's Congress. She had been leading a project for the Agrarian Council (Cumbre Agraria) to strengthen food sovereignty in 12 indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities in the department of Chocó, which was financed by the Agricultural Ministry.

She came from a family of recognised community activists, survivors of the genocide of the Patriotic Union, who had been displaced from the Urabá area of Antioquia department and then again from Medellín, when paramilitaries working with state forces launched a military operation in Comuna 13 in 2002.

With this latest killing, human rights organisations have now registered 23 assassinations of social leaders so far this year in Colombia. Alicia was the sixth female social leader to be killed since December and the fourth activist in Antioquia department.

The National Ombusdman has now acknowledged that 120 human rights activists have been killed over the last 14 months in Colombia, and called on the Attorney General's Office to urgently investigate these crimes.

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