The 17 countries that are part of the International Federation of Social Work for the Latin American Region, of which the Colombian Federation of Social Workers “FECTS” participates, we subscribe to the declaration of repudiation and denunciation for the murder of the social worker Cristina Bautista , indigenous leader and governor of the Cabildo Tacueyó, in the Municipality of Toribio, Cauca. The press reports report that our colleague carried out territorial control work as part of the indigenous guard in the legitimate exercise of defense of their territories. Not only did the murderers deprive the social worker who served as Governor and the guards from being killed, but they attacked the people in the community who came out to protect them.
The 42-year-old Governor had recently obtained the title of social worker at Universidad del Valle in Colombia. Since she was a student, the social worker works on the issue of human rights and community organization. She was instrumental in the implementation of peace agreements with the Revolutionary Armed Forces in Colombia (FARC) in the territory. His last words recorded in a recording were: “I am convinced that we are more those who want peace than those who want war.”
The problem of insecurity experienced by community leaders, social workers and environmental leaders in our countries is an issue that involves specific measures from national governments, the United Nations and professional organizations. The social worker killed in Colombia, the murder of environmental leader Berta Cáceres in Honduras and many others in our region is not an isolated issue. In August 2019, the Institute for the Development of Peace Studies reported that since 2016, 702 human rights leaders in Colombia had been killed. According to the FECTS, the murders have intensified year after year, observing two perspectives of what is happening with these systematic deaths: The first perspective is that “deaths continue” presenting a political landscape from the role that the government has played to curb the situation; and on the other, a state actor who insists on denying the systematic nature of the attacks against social leaders and human rights defenders.
We demand adequate responses from the state, starting with the clarity of the data, the protection of the groups threatened with death and the taking of concrete measures aimed at working with insecurity through concerted efforts with the same communities and leaders.
Larry Emil Alicea Rodríguez, MTS, JD Dra. Tânia Maria Ramos de Godoi Diniz
Presidente FITS ALC Vicepresidenta FITS ALC