On 7 February 2017, the Colombian government and the second largest Guerrilla Group in Colombia, the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN) initiated the public phase of the Peace Talks, in Quito, Ecuador. Postponed since March 2016, following two years of informal negotiations, because of preconditions set by the Colombian government regarding the release of former Congressman Odín Sánchez Montes de Oca. The path was finally paved for the start of the public stage of the Peace Talks with the release on 2 February this year of Mr.
In the first 23 of January 2017, 11 human rights defenders have been killed. One of those killed was Afro-Colombian human rights defender (HRD) Emilsen Manyoma and her partner Joe Javier Rodallega.
On 17 January 2017, the bodies of Afro-Colombian human rights defender (HRD) Emilsen Manyoma and her partner Joe Javier Rodallega were found in Buenaventura. They had been missing since Saturday 14 January 2017. Just a few days before their disappearance, Rodallega reported being threatened and said a truck had been circling Manyoma’s house (see video below).
Human Rights Defenders at Grave Risk
Grave concerns have risen since the signing of the Peace Agreement for the safety of human rights defenders in Colombia.
Para los defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos (DDH) y las comunidades rurales los riesgos aumentan considerablemente cuando sus derechos territoriales están asociados a intereses económicos como, por ejemplo, el caso de la agricultura y de la industria minera (en particular, la minería y la explotación de petróleo) a gran escala.
Human rights defenders and community leaders killed at unprecedented rate in Colombia, warns human rights group
On 26 September 2016 Colombia will officially sign a Peace Agreement between the Government and the FARC guerrilla group, but a new report by human rights group ABColombia says those crucial to building peace are being killed at an alarming rate.