Colombia recorded the deaths of 181 rights activists and community leaders in 2023, the ombudsman’s office said Tuesday, as the country battles to halt abuses by armed groups.
Carlos Camargo, who leads the office charged with the protection of rights, slammed an “unacceptable situation” over the murders of environmental activists, Indigenous leaders, union leaders, and members of the LGBT community, among others.
The number is 16 percent lower than the 215 murders recorded in 2022.
“Each life lost is a tragedy for their families, the community and for the defense of fundamental rights in the country,” Camargo said.
Since being elected in 2022, leftist President Gustavo Petro has vowed to halt violence against activists and put an end to six decades of armed conflict involving guerrillas, right-wing paramilitary groups and drug gangs.
He has entered into negotiations with the main armed groups in the country, however observers say violence is in fact increasing.
Global Witness named Colombia the country with the most murders of land and environmental activists in 2022, with 60 people killed.