Date: Jul 25, 2019
Authors: Andrea Fernández Aponte, Antonio Saadipour Sellés
Tens of thousands of Colombians are getting ready to take the streets tomorrow. Their demand? That the Colombian government get serious and do its job to protect the country’s human rights defenders and social leaders who are building peace from the ground up. Let’s echo their call to make sure the whole world hears it!
Defendamos La Paz—a grassroots peace movement that developed just recently to defend the historic peace accords signed in 2016—last month convoked a nationwide protest in response to the murder of human rights defender María del Pilar Hurtado. María is among the more than 460 social leaders and human rights defenders who have been killed since January 2016. Despite the staggering levels of violence, the Colombian government is shirking its responsibility to address the threats and attacks against these community leaders. And to make matters worse, President Duque is dragging his feet on the implementation of the peace accords, which include measures to protect these leaders and communities.
Peace is hanging in the balance. Yet, Colombians from all walks of life are not about to let their government’s negligence throw away this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. That’s why they’re doubling down on their call for swift action to safeguard the lives of the defenders and the country’s fragile peace. Together, we can stand shoulder to shoulder with our Colombian neighbors. Take action now!>>
Show your support for Colombians demanding justice and peace by tweeting using the hashtags of the event: #Julio26ElGrito #MarchamosPorLosLideres #DefendamosLaPaz
Here are some sample tweets to get you going:
Human rights defenders and social leaders in #Colombia are at the forefront of the peace process. They shouldn’t have to put their lives on the line to do their crucial peace-building work. #DefendamosLaPaz #Julio26ElGrito
Over 2 ½ years after the signing of the peace accords, social leaders and human rights defenders in #Colombia are still getting killed at a tragic rate. Enough is enough. @IvanDuque and his admin need to do more to protect these leaders! #MarchamosPorLosLideres #Julio26ElGrito
As one of the biggest donors for peace in #Colombia, the US (@StateDept) should join in calling on the Col gov’t to protect human rights defenders & to enthusiastically implement the peace accords. #Julio26ElGrito #DefendamosLaPaz
You can also show your support by sharing the image below on Facebook and Twitter:
LAWG along with over 50 international civil society groups released a statement expressing support for the demands of the protesters. Read the press release and statement here:
- International Civil Society Joins with Colombians Marching for the Protection of Defenders and Social Leaders
Learn more about Defendamos La Paz, the grassroots movement that’s a major driving force for peace in Colombia:
- Voces from Colombia: From a Group Chat to a Political Movement
- Defendamos La Paz: Protecting Colombia’s Fragile Peace
There will be marches in cities all around the world, including the United States, tomorrow. Click here to see if there’s a protest happening near you!
P.S. If you’re looking for something to watch on Netflix, we highly recommend Kate Horne’s El Testigo. The film follows Colombian photojournalist Jesús Abad Colorado, who spent the majority of his career documenting the country’s armed conflict, as he visits some of the territories that bore the brunt of the violence to show the photographs he took to those who appeared in them. In the film, he reflects on the horrors of war and the future of peace in Colombia. Host a showing in your home or community center!