OFP & KAIROS grieve and denounce the assassination of one of their leaders and colleagues

On June 27, KAIROS learned from the Organización Femenina Popular (OFP), our partner in Colombia, that their colleague, leader and community organizer, Yoli Maria Toloza Cardoza in Puerto Wilches, was assassinated in her home. They wrote:  

“On June 27 at 11:00 a.m., two armed men on a Boxer motorcycle entered her home and took her life. She was in her home in the Torcoroma neighbourhood in Puerto Wilches, in front of the Popular Women’s Organization headquarters, where she had her dressmaking workshop. Without a word, they shot her in the forehead; her neighbours and colleagues of the OFP mobilized to her aid to take her to the hospital, but she arrived without vital signs.” 

We receive this news with great sadness and outrage.  Our hearts go out to the OFP team, and the community of Puerto Wilches who are grieving a colleague, a leader and a sister. At the same time, we condemn the ongoing violence and the rising gender-based violence, feminicide and threats against social movements that continue with impunity in the communities accompanied by the OFP.  


In their Urgent Action, Voices of Women, that was released shortly after Yoli Maria’s murder, the OFP begins with the quote, “They wanted to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seed.” They write about the OFP’s history and work, and how Yoli Maria was formed by this process to become community leader and human rights defender.  

“For more than a decade, our colleague was part of the coordinating team for the municipal organizational process; she grew as a leader, and she became a woman dedicated to working for women’s rights in Puerto Wilches and the Magdalena Medio region.” 

The OFP denounces her murder and the growing insecurity in the region despite their repeated calls to authorities for security guarantees to protect the lives of women leaders, human rights defenders and the civilian population in general. They write: “Still, we feel that the project of death is advancing, snatching our lives.” 

Yet, the OFP is committed to finding justice for Yoli Maria, continuing the struggle against impunity and ensuring security guarantees for the OFP and the communities they accompany.   

KAIROS joins them in this struggle. We reiterate and amplify their call for justice and their demand for an immediate response from the Colombian government and the security forces, justice for the events that have occurred, and protection for Yoli Maria’s family and the women of the Organización Femenina Popular.  

Read the full translation of OFP’s Urgent Action, Voices of Women.  

Lea el original en español, Voces de Mujeres

Filed in: Gender Justice/Women of Courage

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