Posted on March 17, 2017 12:04 pm
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Categories: Human Rights

Peace deal in Colombia gives way to murders of rights defenders, UN says; 59 Killed Last Year (E)

Dozens of human rights defenders have been murdered in Colombia by gangs fighting for spoils and control since the nation ended its decades-old civil war late last year, the United Nations said on Thursday, urging better protection for activists.

Armed groups are moving into territory being vacated by rebel fighters under an historic peace agreement signed in December by the Colombian government and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the U.N. said.

At least 59 rights defenders were killed in Colombia last year, compared with 45 in 2014, the U.N. said in its annual human rights report released on Thursday.

Community leaders who speak out against rights abuses are targeted by armed groups, often involved in drug trafficking and illegal gold mining, who see the activism as a threat, it said. The armed groups are moving into former rebel strongholds, fighting for territory and resources, the U.N. said. Thomson Reuters