Mario Castaño Bravo, 58, was killed when he was shot seven times by the armed paramilitary group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, on the night of November 26 2017, in his farmhouse in Choco, Colombia. He leaves behind two children and his wife.
Mario worked with the organisations building peace in the Territories, (Conpaz) and the Community Council La Larga de Tumaradó, as a social leader working to restore land rights for his community. He had received numerous threats before as he was openly opposed to the injustice of the paramilitary groups and public forces that took over or inhabited land that did not belong to them.
Mario had been forced on two occasions to leave his land due to resisting the development of timber and farming projects. The first displacement was in October of 1996 after the paramilitary group FRAC moved into the area and put pressure on the residents to join the party and attend meetings. Eventually the violence increased in the area and Mario and the other families had no choice but to move out. The second displacement was in 2013 when armed men tried to force entry into Mario and his family’s home in the community of Florida in the La Larga Tumarado basin.