Giovany Leiton

Giovany Leiton was an indigenous community leader from the department of Chocó. He presided over his village council, but probably, what costs him his life was his seat at the Mesa Nacional de Interlocución y Acuerdo (Negotiation Table for an Agricultural Agreement). A peasant organization that the previous year had led protests–including a national agrarian strike–pushing for a long list of agricultural conditions for peasants throughout the country, most of whom are indigenous and Afro-descendants.

The Mesa spoke up against eradicating of illicit crops and sought a reduction in and control of fuel, fertilizer and insecticide prices. It also demanded an end to the import of food and agricultural products.

Months before his death, the community leader had publicly denounced violent actions in their territories by the Army and  illegal armed groups. To judge by his words in the following video, recorded a month and a half before his death, Leiton seemed aware of the risk that this meant for his own life and that of others in his community.

Leiton was also spokesman for the political and social movement Marcha Patriótica (Patriotic March), a leftist organisation that in just its first two years of foundation had already seen the murder of more than twenty of its members, as reported by former Senator Piedad Córdoba to Semana. More than 15 of these deaths occurred in circumstances that point to operatives of selective murder sicario style of peasant or indigenous leaders in numerous regions around the country.

Giovanny and his partner, Doris Viviana Vallejo, also a member of the National Table of Interlocution and Agricultural Agreement, were tortured and then murdered in their home in the village of Zabaleta, on January 4, 2014.


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Date of Killing:04/01/2014

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Community leader

Organisation:Junta de Acción Comunal de la Vereda Zabaleta

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Indigenous Peoples' Rights, Land Rights

More information:Frontline Defenders

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