Violent attack on Afro-descendant community leaders in Colombia

By May 6, 2019 News & Current Affairs
Afro-Colombian activists

Attack Against Leaders of Organizing Processes; Association of Community Councils of Norte Del Cauca Aconc, Process of Black Communities (PCN), Association of Black Women of Norte Del Cauca (ASOM)

Santander de Quilichao, Colombia — At approximately 5:30 pm, we, human rights leaders and defenders of ethnic and territorial rights of the Association of Community Councils of Norte del Cauca—ACONC and the Process of Black Communities—PCN and the Association of Black Women of Norte del Cauca—ASOM, were victims of an attack with firearms and grenades at the hands of four unknown men, three of which carried out the attack while one remained as backup. After the attack two of them left in a motorcycle and two others remained on foot on the main road towards Santander de Quilichao.

The events took place in the midst of a meeting that was being held at La Trinidad, an estate in the locality of Lomitas in the municipality of Santander de Quilichao in preparation for the meeting scheduled to take place with the government on May 8, 2019 to finalize the agreements reached earlier this year on April 11 at the minga held in the southwestern Colombia in defense of life, peace and democracy.

Two bodyguards were injured during the attack; one was part of the collective protection corps for ACONC, the other was an individual’s guard, while more than 25 people who were present at the meeting, including two minors and two international attendees were emotionally and psychologically affected. We could verify the existence of three government checkpoints, the closest of which was approximately 10 km from where the meeting was being held along the road that runs between Timba and Santander de Quilichao, two of these are temporary police checkpoints while one is a permanent army checkpoint located in the community of Timba.

We express our outrage at this attempted massacre, which compromises the fundamental rights to life, participation, and social protest and protection. Given these events, we urgently demand that the following people immediately attend to the situation: Minister of Interior Ms Nancy Patricia Gutiérrez, Minister of Defense Mr. Lorenzo Guillermo Botero Nieto, Director of National Protection Unit Mr. Diego Fernando Mora Arango, Attorney General Mr. Néstor Humberto Martínez, Ombudsman Carlos Alberto Negret and to the Committee for the Evaluation of Risk and Recommended Measures CERREM.

In the same way we demand that the Colombian Government establish the necessary guarantees to protect the fundamental rights to life, participation and social protest. We demand that the attorney general’s office begin investigations in order to clarify the events and arrest the perpetrators at all levels. Similarly, we request accompaniment by multilateral human rights organizations, and accompaniment and oversight by the offices of the general attorney, the ombudsman, and the ethnic attorney’s office.

Afro-Colombian Activists - Violence is fear of the ideas of others, it is the Last Resort of the incompetent. I reject categorically the attack against our leaders in Norte Del Cauca.

Translation: Violence is fear of the ideas of others, it is the last resort of the incompetent. I reject categorically the attack against our leaders in Norte Del Cauca.

We encourage folks to download and tweet the image above with a note denouncing the attack and urging @usembassybogota and @secpompeo to guarantee justice for black leaders and organizations in Colombia including if possible the tags @renacientes @franciamarquezM @conpacolombia

 

IBW

About IBW

IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to building the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. to work for the social, political, economic and cultural upliftment, the development of the global Black community and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.