A recent study shows that the murder of Colombian social leaders is part of a systematic program of targeted assassinations.
Colombia’s attorney general referred to the study, saying that social leaders who are members of Communal Action Boards (JAC) are targeted more often by paramilitary groups.
Of the 431 assassinations between Jan. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2018, 37 percent were Communal Action Boards members or leaders.
Communal Act Boards were formed in the 1950s. They are local councils where citizens plan and develop community projects based on their own needs. The majority of the local councils are in rural areas and members are primarily low-income Campesino, Indigenous, and Afro-Colombian members of society.
Almost all of the murders occur in rural areas along the coast, areas that are rich in minerals for mining and have fertile soil that Campesino and Indigenous people use for growing vegetable and corn crops.
Indigenous people make up 13 percent of those murdered and farmers make up 10 percent. Union leaders, social leaders, Afro-Colombians and the LGBT population were the other main targets.
This year at least six social leaders have been murdered.
Photo of Maritza Quiroz Leiva via Facebook