KAIROS joins partners in condemning the assassination of human rights defenders Teófilo Acuña Ribón and Jorge Alberto Tafur in Colombia
On February 22, Teófilo Acuña Ribón and Jorge Alberto Tafur, two well respected human rights defenders working for land rights in Colombia were killed. Teófilo and Jorge Alberto are two of thirty-three human rights defenders murdered thus far in 2022 in Colombia. Violence continues unabated in Colombia as armed groups coalesce in the context of stalled and ostensibly thwarted peace accords.
Both Teófilo Acuña Ribón and Jorge Alberto Tafur were beloved community leaders in the region of the Magalena Medio and worked with KAIROS partner, Organización Femenina Popular (OFP) in their efforts to build just, sustainable and inclusive peace.
In a statement released February 23, the OFP condemns their assassinations and calls on the international community to: “pay special attention so that the comprehensive and collective protection of human rights organizations, leaders, and individuals who are at serious risk can be achieved” in Colombia.
In addition, KAIROS joins Canadian organizations, CDHAL and PASC, in condemning the assassinations as well as the ongoing threats, harassment, and attacks against human rights defenders in Colombia and calling on the Canadian and Colombian governments to put measures in place to stop the massacre of Colombian leaders. For the Government of Canada, these measures include addressing the violent role that the presence and activities of the Canadian extractive companies have had in Colombia since the ratification of the Canada–Colombia Free Trade Agreement. The statement urges the Canadian government to report on and withdraw support from Canadian companies whose activities lead to human rights violations; and to include in the Annual Report on Human Rights and Free Trade between Canada and the Republic of Colombia the climate of terror that human rights defenders face.