On 18 November 2016, Erley Monroy, a 54 year old Colombian land and environmental rights defender died in hospital of injuries sustained in an attack by unknown assailants in the town of San Vicente del Caguán, Southern Colombia.
A director of the Asociación Campesina Ambiental Losada-Guayabero (ASCAL-G), Erley Monroy, a known opponent of fracking and other mining practices had recently denounced the renewed activity of paramilitary groups in the area. In the following clip, Erley Monroy talks about the struggle for land rights in Colombia:
Before his killing, Erley Monroy explains in an interview with Semanario Voz his twofold view of the damage caused by oil and mining projects. “The environmental damage is the first, but the other is the damage to the social fabric. We know that the oil companies never come with good things. For one thing, the paramilitaries come behind the oil companies. After that come the psychopaths, the thieves, the rapists, and our culture dies. And the army also does this, so we are afraid.”
During the same weekend two other local leaders, Mr Didier Losada, President of the El Platanillo Neighbours’ Association and Mr Rodrigo Cabrera, a farmer, community leader and member of the Patriotic March were also killed. Meanwhile, another land and environmental rights defender Hugo Cuéllar survived an assassination attempt having reportedly been shot five times in San Vicente del Caguán, Caquetá on his way home from the funeral of his colleague Erley Monroy.
Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the wave of deadly violence against human rights defenders and calls upon the Colombian state to conduct thorough and impartial investigations into the killings. Front Line Defenders also urges the Colombian state to adopt a preventative and effective approach to the protection of human rights defenders that is flexible and responsive to the changing risks faced by them. Protecting and supporting human rights defenders is a crucial step on the path towards lasting peace in Colombia.
If you would like to provide a personal recollection, please email us at: HRDMemorial@frontlinedefenders.org
Date of Killing:18/11/2016
Type of Work:Social protester
Organisation:Comunidades campesinas Sam Vicente del Caguan y Promocion de Paz
Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights
More information:Front Line Defenders
1This database records an individual's chosen gender identity. If they do not self-identify as male or female they can use the option of recording other/neither or use the term NBGI (non binary gender identity).
URLs (links) of Interest
- Erley Monroy talks about his work
- The Dawn News
- Justice for Colombia