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Colombia: Politics and Government

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 21st June 2018.

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Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd Labour, Cynon Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his counterpart in Colombia on the recent disappearance of four Afro-Colombian leaders from communities along the Naya River in Colombia and ongoing threats to and displacements of communities in that area.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office understands that 4 local leaders from communities along the Naya river were kidnapped, three in April and one in May. The criminal group responsible has reportedly issued a video claiming the victims have been killed.

I am concerned about reports of increasing violence against human rights defenders and social activists in Colombia. Illegal armed groups are responsible for the majority of these attacks. The Naya region has seen an increase in fighting in recent weeks between illegal armed groups, including dissident former members of the FARC. It is vital that the security and protection of civilians is ensured and the British Ambassador in Bogota raised these concerns with the Colombian Defence Minister on 11 May.

The UK also raised concerns about violence against human rights defenders during the Universal Periodic Review of Colombia's human rights on 10 May in Geneva. During the review, Colombia also accepted UK recommendations to improve protective measures for human rights defenders.

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