Threats against Colombian human rights activist Malena Martínez

Front Line Defenders (FLD) strongly condemns the break-in and threats against Malena Martínez, a member of the Sucree branch of the Sucre branch of the Movimiento Nacional de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado (National Movement of Victims of State Crimes – MOVICE) in Colombia.

It urged the Colombian authorities to carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the break-in at the workplace of Malena Martínez and the threats made against her, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

According to FLD, in the afternoon of 19 October 2018, unknown individuals broke into Montoya’s workplace, a dental clinic. The locks were broken and the place was ransacked, but nothing was taken. Instead, a threatening note was left, which read “Malena, you see that we can get to you”, signed by AGC1 Fuera Guerrillas.

It is not the first time that Montoya is being targeted. In June 2013, she, her husband and one other person linked to the family were informed of a plan to kill them. In 2018 alone, she has received three threatening messages by phone, stating that she should stop accompanying victims of La Guaripa and that, if she does not comply, herself, her family and the victims would all be killed.

Colombia has seen an upsurge in the killing of human rights defenders since the peace agreement was signed in December 2016. Despite the Presidential Decree 2252 from 29 December 2017, which establishes obligations of local and regional governments to protect and implement security measures for human rights defenders, community and social leaders at risk, social leaders in rural areas of the country face continued targeted violence against them.

According to reports of the Colombian organisation Somos Defensores, between January and June of 2018   272 threats, 77 killings, 23 attempted murders and four disappearances of human rights defenders were registered.

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