Front Line Defenders (FLD) has extremely concerned about the wave of attacks against members of Movimientos Rios Vivos Antioquia (MRVA) and the pattern of attacks and killings against their family members in Colombia. It expressed its concern regarding the lack of proper investigation of the cases reported to the authorities, which effectively encourages the aggressors to continue these actions.
It condemns the smear campaigns and insults against MRVA by public officials; Front Line Defenders fears that such stigmatisation may lead to a further increase in violence against the movement.
It urged the authorities to immediately take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of the members of MRVA, in coordination with the human rights defenders concerned. It also asked to carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the assassinations and the multiple attacks on MRVA members, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
It said that authoriteis should refrain from stigmatising the work of human rights defenders, particularly the activities carried out by the leaders from the Movimiento Rios Vivos Antioquia;
According to FLD, on September 22, two relatives of members of the Movimiento Ríos Vivos Antioquia were assassinated, one in the municipality of Briceño and the other in the municipality of Valdivia. These are the latest incidents in a series of attacks against the movement’s members and their families. MRVA composed of 15 associations and families in the West, North and Lower-Cauca sub-region in Antioquia, affected by the negative environmental and human rights impact of the hydroelectric project “Hidroituango”.