‘Failure to Protect Social Leaders is a Crime of Omission’ Open Letter to President Juan Manuel Santos (S)
[…] over 50 representatives of Colombia’s society have sent an open letter to President Santos, the Attorney General and Vice President Óscar Naranjo voicing their concern, “over the pressing lack of guarantees for political participation and the exercise of rights, especially by human rights defenders and social activists.”
The letter signed by writers, professors, artists, peace activists, photographers, defenders of human rights, politicians and academics states that patterns of violence persist “in regions where the post-conflict will be felt more strongly, and that these patterns are part of a chain of “disputes over territory, rents or ways of engaging in politics.”
According to the signatories, “under cover of hate speech and rampant corruption, groups act to stigmatize social leaders who oppose their interests and defend the communities, resources, and territories.” At the service of a narco-paramilitary complex, illegal armed groups and agents engage in violence attacking, among many of their actions, social leaders committed to peace, the defense of human rights and the reconstruction of the social and community fabric.”
Confronted by this violence, members of the State have nonetheless insisted that it is not systematic […] and that, “the State has an obligation to ensure adequate protection of that leadership, failure to do so constitutes a crime of omission and refusal to abide by the guiding principles of the Constitution.” PACIFISTA!