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Saturday 18th
posted by James Tweedie in World

SOLIDARITY campaigners urged the Colombian government to act yesterday after a shocking UN report revealed that far-right paramilitaries murdered 127 people last year.

The report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was released in Colombia on Thursday.

It said many of the killings of trade unionists, peasant leaders and human rights activists were in areas where the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) had demobilised under the Havana peace accords finally agreed last year.

“There is a pattern here relative to where the killings are occurring,” said UN representative Todd Howland.

“It is a really important moment to consolidate the implementation of the accords.”

Colombian Defence Minister Luis Villegas continued to claim the killings were “isolated incidents” by “criminal gangs.”

But lawyer and community leader Luz Perly Cordoba refuted this, saying that the murders were not isolated.

Speaking at the report’s launch she said that the continued paramilitary killings were “the biggest danger to the implementation of the accords.”

Britain’s Justice for Colombia (JfC) welcomed the report, saying it was crucial that the UN, “unlike the Colombian government, has recognised that the violence against human rights and political activists in Colombia is systematic.”

JfC spokeswoman Cherilyn Elston said: “As Colombian human rights activists have been reporting, paramilitary organisations are responsible for the majority of these horrific crimes against community leaders.

“It is time the Colombian government recognises the existence of right-wing paramilitaries in the country.”