Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
A Colombian priest has called for an end to gangland violence after a COVID-19 charity worker and activist was killed as the country went into lockdown.
Priest Francisco de Roux, who is the President of The Truth Committee (CEV) human rights organisation in Colombia, has reportedly asked illegal armed groups to stop their criminal activities including harassment, kidnapping and murder in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
De Roux told local media: “While this plague is having more and more devastating consequences every day, in different regions of the country social leaders are still being murdered and many communities are in the middle of an armed conflict subjugated through the intimidation of guns, fear and terror.”
The statement comes after social leader Carlota Salinas Perez, who worked with the Colombian Popular Feminist Organisation (OFP), was murdered in her home in the town of San Pablo in the Bolivar department in north-eastern Colombia.
Reports state that several armed men arrived at her home on 24th March a few hours after the Colombian government declared the obligatory lockdown.
They then forced her to leave her home before shooting her dead while her partner is still missing, according to reports.
The OFP said in a press statement: “Carlota was our partner for more than 10 years, her family has been part of our key network in the territory and we remember her for her commitment, her dedication and her expression of solidarity with all.”
Salinas promoted projects with female producers, leaders and defenders of victims of violence and was part of the Civil Defence in the municipality of San Pablo, where she worked in disaster risk management, social action and environmental management.
Local media report hours before being killed, the victim, who was the mother of three children, was collecting money to help those most vulnerable in the coronavirus pandemic in her area.
The OFP added: “Her murder hurts us, as she joins the more than 800 leaders murdered since the signing of the peace agreements in 2016 and we recognise the urgency for the Colombian State to fulfil its obligations.”
Reports said that several organisations have asked the local government to protect social leaders in Colombia during the lockdown period which is scheduled to last until 13th April.
The Truth Committee was formed in 2016 after the peace agreement between The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (FARC-EP) and the Colombian Government.
De Roux’s call was made after the general secretary of the United Nations Antonio Guterres made a public statement asking for the cease of the armed conflicts in the world to stop in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Colombian government declared the lockdown on Wednesday 24th while there have been 702 cases of people infected with COVID-19 and 10 deaths in the country, according to the latest data from the Johns Hopkins University.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.