The Inter-American Human Rights Commission, IACHR, is investigating human rights violations against campesino and social leaders in Colombia, who are increasingly being killed.
In response to petitions from peasant and social organizations alike, the IACHR is probing the situation, making it a top priority at its 165th session, which will start on Monday. According to its agenda, the Commission will hold two back-to-back hearings in Montevideo, Uruguay, per the request of at least 17 human rights organizations.
The first will focus on the dire situation of Colombia’s social leaders. More specifically, the assaults and killings of activists in rural areas.
The second hearing will begin immediately after and will investigate human rights violations within the framework of the peace agreement and the government’s role in the deaths.
The IACHR recently issued a statement condemning the Colombian government for its persistent and fatal aggressions against families in the rural farming industry.
“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemns the violent death of at least seven peasants, including two members of the Awa Indigenous people, in the municipality of Tumaco, Colombia,” the organization said in a statement Thursday.
“The IACHR urges the Colombian authorities to take urgent measures to exhaustively investigate these events and ensure the security and integrity of peasant, Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities,” it continued, adding that as an international organization, it maintains the right to promote the observance and defense of human rights throughout the Americas.
One day later, peasants and social groups called for an indefinite nationwide mobilization to start Monday, demanding complete compliance to the peace agreement signed last November by the government and the Alternative Revolutionary Force of the Commons, or FARC.
Sponsoring organizations include the leftist Patriotic March, the National Coordinator of Coca, Poppy and Marijuana Growers, Coccam, the National Coordination of Communities and Afro-descendent Organizations, Conafro, the National Coordination of Indigenous Peoples, Conpi, and the National Association of Peasant Reserve Zones, Anzorc.
Several members of these organizations have suffered persecution from right-wing paramilitaries.
"This national strike is to demand compliance with the agreement. We hope that the government respects our right to protest," Anzorc spokesman Cesar Jerez said in a statement.
A confrontation between police and a group of farmers over illicit crops in Colombia’s southern region Saturday left one officer dead and two civilians injured by a the detonation of a homemade explosive.