The killing of several community leaders in Colombia over the past week has been strongly condemned by GUE/NGL MEPs.

This spate of violence has been linked to the peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) which was rejected in a national referendum last month.

Many of the victims represented rural communities and were said to be in favour of the peace agreement.

A revised peace accord is scheduled to be signed in Bogotá on Thursday.

Tania González Peñas MEP – Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to the Andean Community – said of the killings:

“We strongly condemn the murders over the past five days of John Rodriguez, Jose Antonio Velasco Taquinas, Erley Monroy, Didier Losada Barreto, Rodrigo Cabrera Cabrera and Danilo Bolaños Diaz.”

“We urge President Juan Manuel Santos’s government to rigorously enquire into these political murders. He must also provide the necessary guarantees for the security and freedom of all Colombian citizens who participate in the political process, and to prosecute the ‘criminal bands’ (bandas criminales / BACRIM) and the new paramilitary groups responsible for the 71 murders, 279 threats and 30 attacks so far this year,” she continued.

“This upsurge in political violence in Colombia must end. The international community must heap pressure upon those responsible to respect human rights and to foster a just and durable peace process.”

“In order to prevent further human rights violations and for a lasting political future for Colombia, we from the European Parliament will support and help the Colombian nation in implementing such agreements.”
“We will also look to ensure that they are applied without delay in areas which have been most affected by violence,” González Peñas added.

Also unequivocal in her condemnation is Marina Albiol MEP, Vice-Chair for the European Parliament’s Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (Eurolat) in Brussels:

“The escalating attacks against defenders of human rights, trade unionists and left-wing movements such as those in Marcha Patriotica are stark reminders of one of the darkest chapters in Colombian history: the extermination of the Unión Patriotica.”

“A human rights defender was killed every week in 2015. Three members of Marcha Patriótica have already been murdered this past week alone. Yet, paramilitary groups continue to operate with complete impunity with the Santos government looking the other way,” she continued.   .

“The EU cannot remain silent in order to protect its multinationals’ interests in Colombia.”

“The current peace process is an opportunity not only to achieve lasting peace but to lay the foundations that are essential for fostering peace; to end all paramilitary activities; and to guarantee the political participation of all citizens,” concluded Albiol.

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