Colombia: OAS rights commission condemns murder of indigenous leader

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on Aug. 2 issued a statement strongly condemning the murder of Colombian indigenous leader Luis Alfredo Socarras Pimienta. The IACHR, an autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), "urges the State of Colombia to investigate the crime committed against the indigenous leader Socarras Pimienta and to prosecute and punish those who perpetrated and planned the crime." The statement adds that "the IACHR also urges the State to attend to the needs for protection and security of those who defend the rights of the indigenous peoples of Colombia, to ensure that crimes such as this one do not happen again."

Socarras was killed on July 27 in Riohacha, on the Caribbean coast. The murder was reportedly committed by a hit-man, who shot him in the doorway of his house before fleeing. An advocate for the rights of the Wayuu people, Socarras led numerous protests over the past year, and ran in two elections for mayor of Manaure municipality with the Polo Democratico Alternativo. A dentist by trade, he organized dental-care campaigns for communities in the Guajira Peninsula. (Colombia Reports, Aug. 2)

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