AfroResistance: We Stand With the Black Community of Colombia

the Colombian government has lashed out with a military styled repression against the millions of protestors
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After a mass strike and mass mobilizations that began on April 28th due to a proposed tax reform, the Colombian government has lashed out with a military styled repression against the millions of protestors currently in the streets.

The intention of the repression is simple, to drown and silence the collective demands. This criminal action has led to at least 37 murdered people by armed forces, over one thousand injured including life-altering eye injuries, and at least 10 reported gender based violence, including sexual violence.

It also included over 500 detained and multiple aggressions against human rights defenders and observers and journalists. According to reports from Campaña Defender la Libertad Asunto de Todas.

“These manifestations are a just and collective response that many groups including Black groups throughout Colombia have been for decades organizing around, including structural racism, economic injustice, gender inequality, and environmental racism to name a few issues. These issues did not start on April 28th, or during the still existing COVID-19 pandemic. These issues are historical and have been exacerbated due to the pandemic” says Janvieve Williams Comrie, Executive Director of AfroResistance.

The government has been militarizing several cities in the country, turning the main streets, where women, children and families frequent, into highly dangerous war zones.

The deployment of the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD), which is the riot control unit of the Colombian National Police specialized in preventing and/or controlling riots, has resulted in a series of deaths, injuries and disappearances. The Colombian military mechanism has publicly received the support of state officials, where, in the name of defending their integrity and material goods, they use their weapons against protesters, thereby justifying the abuse of force.

For this reason, we urge the international community and other human rights organizations to take immediate action to defend the human rights of the people in Colombia and prevent the number of victims from continuing to increase; We also demand that the respective investigations of the various cases that have been presented be carried out in a transparent and immediate manner, avoiding impunity and demanding guarantees for the exercise of social protest in a peaceful and safe manner.

It is important to highlight the role that Black Colombian women have historically played in the struggle against oppression, death and extermination in Colombia. In Colombia, gender violence, is one of the most visible and least heard problems by the government. The rights of Women and Girls have been violated both inside and outside the protests, in urban areas, but also in peripheral (rural) areas where many cases have remained anonymous or have simply become a number.

In Colombia, according to the organization, Somos Defensores, during the first quarter of the current year, 26% of the attacks by the security forces occurred against women, many of these cases have not yet been clarified. From AfroResistance, we reiterate once again our support for all Black Women and Girls and the call to respect and preserve their rights.

AfroResistance stands in solidarity with Colombian Black, Women, Trans, Youth, Indigenous, Human Rights and all Social Justice organizations in their call for international organizations and International Human Rights Mechanisms to accompany their demand to mobilize, to protect their lives and preserve their rights and dignity.

It is important to also add that in 2012, Colombia signed a bilateral agreement with Haiti to help train and professionalize Haitian police officers.

The mission statement for AfroResistance, is to educate and organize for human rights, democracy and racial justice throughout the Americas.

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