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Shelter to protect defenders of territories in Bogota, Colombia

From April 28 to May 2, there will be a Humanitarian Shelter for Life that aims to protect social leaders in Bogota

The Humanitarian Shelter for Life was established on April 28 in Bogota to raise awareness about the risks suffered by defenders of life and territories in Colombia.

The decision was part of the national and international work being carried out with Colombian defenders of life and territories who are being persecuted, criminalized and murdered in that country.

This follows the 3rd International Solidarity Mission of La Vía Campesina and the National Strike.

Vía Campesina´s 3rd Mission [1] confirmed an increase of criminalization, persecution and murder of Colombian social leaders, as well as against former fighters and their families. With respect to what was observed by the Mission in 2017, “currently we see that the goals of this selective massacre aim to break with the defense of the territories and the implementation of the Peace Accords”, stated the network of peasant organizations.

In order to set up this shelter, approximately 3000 social leaders came to Bogota to raise awareness about the risks of defending life and territories. Many social, environmental organizations, unions and feminist groups are joining them.

“We are working together to denounce and demand guarantees for the work of human rights defenders in Colombia”, stated Asociación MINGA.

On April 30 there was a Public Hearing at Congress about “public policy enforcement and mechanisms to ensure the safety of social leaders”.

Members of Movimiento Ríos Vivos Colombia participated in this hearing as part of the National Agrarian, Peasant, Ethnic and Popular Summit.

Outside Congress, Guillermo Builes Bedoya, member of Ríos Vivos Colombia, talked to RWR about the progress of the hearing.

“In less than 24 hours, two leaders were murdered in Colombia”, said Builes.

The leaders also organized a sit-in outside the National Prosecutor´s Office against the prosecution of social leaders.

On May 1 they will participate in the mobilizations and commemoration over the International Worker´s Day in Plaza Bolívar. And on the 2nd they will participate in different activities at Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, with a national meeting of leaders, a cultural event and the launch of conclusions about the Humanitarian Shelter together with the university community.