No peace for human rights defenders in Colombia.
No peace without them.

Colombian human rights defenders among the world's most attacked

In November 2016, the peace process that started four years earlier was finally voted by
both chambers of the Colombian Congress.

Did that mean the end of the war in Colombia? In some ways, yes. The number of murders
and other crimes has dropped by 40%. But for certain people, the war goes on.
Human rights defenders have suffered a record number of killings in the last two years,
which have been met with state indifference at best, and impunity at worst.

The unequal ownership of land, entrenched culture of State violence and repression
of social protest to this day keep affecting HRDs first and foremost.

How can this end?

Our latest report

What it means to be
an HRD in Colombia today

The following data for 2017 were extracted from the latest report “Piedra en el Zapato" by our Colombian partner Somos Defensores:


HRDs were attacked
every single day.

That is the largest number of aggressions ever recorded in the country.

Carlos Andrès Guevara

“Human rights defenders are the key to lasting peace in Colombia."

Carlos Andrés Guevara Jiménez,
Coordinador de Comunicaciones, Somos Defensores

The main types of attacks on HRDs.

HRDs killed by type of activity.

Carlos Andrès Guevara


HRDs killed.

The number of HRDs killed rose by a third to 106 in 2017 from the previous year. That’s just under one HRD killed every three days.

Who attacked them?

Where are
they killed?

Most murders take place in rural areas of Colombia in certain Colombian departments, mainly Cauca and Valle del Cauca (25%) and Antioquia (13%)

The HRDs who fight for peace in Colombia have many faces, but their stories are all the
same: a lot of them do not make a living defending the rights of others but do so for the sake of advancing the wellbeing of people around them. For that, they are the target of
intimidation, attacks, threats, aggressions, and undue criminalization….

HRDs in Colombia need to be better protected so that they can dedicate their efforts to making Colombia a better country for all its citizens, without fearing for their safety.

Whether you are Colombian, whether you are an institution supporting Colombia’s development, a Colombian policymaker or just a citizen of the world committed with the defense of human rights, there are a number of things you can do to make the difference.
Find more suggestions in this section.