ProtectDefenders.eu is holding its Annual Meeting next 8 November 2017 in Brussels, under the motto:
“Champions of change - Human Rights Defenders at the forefront of Development and Democracy ”
This annual meeting will allow taking stock of the most pressing protection challenges for human rights defenders at risk and operating as leaders of today's human rights and development agenda.
Join us at thie unique EU gathering of defenders working on the frontlines for change and setting a progressive development and protection agenda.
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Geneva-Paris-Bogotá, July 19, 2017 - The lowest murder rate in Colombia for 40 years in the context of the peace process masks a climate of constant threats and a sharp rise in killings of human rights defenders. The persistence of paramilitary structures, impunity and limitations in the State response are among the main reasons for this reality, as reported by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (an OMCT-FIDH partnership) at the close of its mission to the country, carried out in the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism.
The work of human rights defenders continues to be a high-risk activity in Colombia. Depending on the source, figures for the number of killings of defenders in 2016 range between 59 and 134. Despite these inconsistencies, the figures are scandalous at either end of the scale, and it is important to highlight that the different national State institutions, international bodies and Colombian civil society organisations which have gathered these statistics all coincide in reporting a significant increase in the number of killings of human rights defenders in comparison with previous years. Moreover, according to the information gathered by the mission, human rights defenders who are local leaders, particularly those who defend rights related to the land and environment in rural areas, are the group most vulnerable to constant threats.