Colombian community activist who stood up to plantation firms is shot dead

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

A community leader in Colombia who campaigned against the incursion of plantation companies into land and forests has reportedly been assassinated.

Hernan Bedoya defended the collective land rights of Afro-Colombian farmers as well as local biodiversity in the face of palm oil and industrial agriculture expansion. He was allegedly shot dead by a neo-paramilitary group on Friday, December 5.

According to the Intercelestial Commission for Justice and Peace in Colombia (CIJP), a Colombian human rights group, Bedoya was heading home on horseback when two members of the neo-paramilitary Gaitánista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC) intercepted him on a bridge and shot him 14 times, immediately killing him.

Bedoya fought to ensure that the collective Afro-Colombian territory in Chocó Department was protected from ongoing “invasions” that were cutting into agricultural lands and destroying protected areas set aside for their rich biodiversity.

Mongabay has published an in-depth piece on the background to the incident, here.