On 16 October 2016, land rights defender Mr Yimer Chávez Rivera was shot and killed by two unknown men whilst he drove his motorcycle with his wife, Ms Noira Castillo, in La Sierra, El Cauca. Ms Castillo survived the attack but was also injured and remains hospitalised.
Yimer Chávez Rivera was a member of the Organisation for Urban and Peasant’s Development (Organización para el Desarrollo Urbano y Campesino, ORDEURCA) as well as the leader of the Popular and Campesino Guard (Guardias Campesinas y Populares) in the Frontino neighbourhood in the municipality of La Sierra, El Cauca.
The Popular and Campesino Guard is made up of unarmed volunteers, and as an organisation it seeks to protect land rights, strengthen community bonds, and promote peace. The objective of the Popular and Campesino Guard is to regularly hold discussions with local farmers, listen to their complaints and relay them to the pertinent authorities or raise the issues with other campesino organisations in order to seek a peaceful resolution.