Throughout 2021, the Ombudsman’s Office recorded 145 homicides of social leaders and human rights defenders in Colombia, according to an updated report from the agency, cited by local media.
According to this monitoring, carried out between January 1 and December 31, 7 of the 32 departments of the country concentrated 70% of such murders: Antioquia, with 24 homicides; Cauca, 22; Valle del Cauca, 19; Crashed, 10; and Nariño, Norte de Santander and Putumayo, with 9 each.
These figures differ from those reported by the non-governmental organization Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (Indepaz), which counted 171 homicides of social leaders in 2021.
On the other hand, the count of the Ombudsman’s Office exceeds what was reported last Wednesday by the United Nations Organization (UN), whose office in Colombia verified last year a total of 78 homicides against human rights defenders, although it is still reviewing other reported cases.
The Ombudsman has documented that the murders and forced displacement of thousands of families in the departments of Antioquia, Bolívar, Cauca, Chocó, Nariño, Norte de Santander and Valle del Cauca are due, to a great extent, to the presence of irregular armed groups that dispute the territory to appropriate illegal crops and for the “illicit extraction of minerals”.