José Víctor Ceballos Epinayu



Contagi Radio

Teacher and indigenous Wayúu activist, José Víctor Ceballos Epinayu, was murdered on Tuesday, (February 19, 2019) in Riohacha, La Guajira (Colombia), when he was leaving his home on his way to work.

José Víctor was attacked with a firearm by two men who were travelling on a motorcycle, local media reported.

Although a group of neighbours tried to help the leader, taking him to a hospital, but he died as a result of his injuries.

The 36-year-old leader was also an active member of the indigenous Wayúu Nation movement, which has been denouncing threats against some of its members.

Víctor Ceballos was the nephew of Edwin Ceballos Sijona, the traditional authority of the Aljote community and an active member of the Nación Wayúu movement, an NGO that demanded that the government and the international community act effectively against the murders and aggressions that are being committed against them. 

In fact, both Victor and Edwin had featured in threatening pamphlets that were distributed in the area in 2018, which is why Edwin had received protection measures from the National Protection Unit (UNP); However, Víctor had not received protection, because his social function was focused on teaching for his community in La Plazoleta, a place near the Municipality of Riohacha.

Through a statement, the organization denounced the killing of the activist. “As a human rights NGO, we reject this vile murder of our teacher and demand that the national and international organisations act decisively in the face of serial killings of our social and indigenous leaders,” they said.

So far in 2019, at least 18 social leaders have been killed in Colombia.

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Department/Province/State:La Guajira



Date of Killing:19/02/2019

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Teacher

Organisation:Movimiento Indígena Nación Wayúu,

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:Civil and Political Rights, ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Indigenous Peoples' 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).