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UN says 'staggering' deaths of rights activists in Colombia

BOGOTA — The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed alarm on Tuesday at what it called a “staggering” number of activist deaths in Colombia.

The U.N. agency said that 107 human rights defenders were killed in 2019, a number that could grow to 120 as investigations into cases are completed.

At least 10 deaths have been reported thus far in 2020, indicating that the “terrible trend” is showing no signs of letting up.

The vast majority of the deaths happened in rural areas with a higher-than-average poverty rate and where illegal armed groups operate.

Activists defending specific community, ethnic and indigenous groups were the most targeted.

The U.N. said the ability of illegal armed groups to enter and control territory once ruled by leftist rebels who signed a 2016 peace accord is partly to blame.

The Associated Press