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  • Human Rights Research Center

Colombia Deadliest Country for Human Rights Activists

March 5, 2023


Photo: Colombian social leaders and rights defenders take part in a May Day march in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2019. [Image credit: Raúl Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images]

Cited article by Iñigo Alexander, The Guardian


HRRC is dismayed by Front Line Defenders' findings in Colombia and other countries regarding the killing of rights activists. International governments must work harder to ensure protections for environmental and human rights defenders as they continue to carry out their work.


Article Summary


In it's 2022 Global Analysis report, Front Line Defenders found that 401 human rights activists were killed across 26 countries. Colombia reported 186 activist deaths alone, accounting for roughly 46% of the international total. Colombia also had the highest recorded activist deaths in 2021. Of these, the majority of deaths are related to activism surrounding environmental protection and Indigenous peoples' rights.


Despite Colombia's congress passing an international treaty to protect the environment and grant more protection to environmental defenders in 2022, "the country recorded the highest number of lethal attacks against these defenders... with 88 environmental and Indigenous rights defenders killed." The government continues to struggle with the violence against environmental and human rights defenders, as 36 activists have been killed in Colombia since January.


The other top four countries in rights activist deaths include: Ukraine (50), Mexico (45), Brazil (26), and Honduras (17).

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