The Inter-Ethnic Forum, the Indigenous Board and the Dioceses’ of Quibdó, Istmina and Apratadó and many NGOs in Colombia, like ABColombia’s partner, the Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace (Comision Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz) have raised their concerns about the forced displacement of Indigenous Communities across Choco.
According to the Bishop of Quibdó: In Chocó (one department of Colombia) 20 out of the 30 municipalities have been declared in a state of “Alert” due to combats between the ELN Guerrilla and neo-paramilitary groups (BACRIM). This is exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the department.
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.