According to the Defensor del Pueblo, there are 24 dead, 89 disappeared, and more than 800 wounded during the protests against tax reforms, imposed by security forces.
The people of Colombia organized and participated in peaceful protests against a tax reform, but the marches of its citizens have been repressed by excessive use of force by the police.
According to figures from the Defensor del Pueblo (Ombudsman's Office), as of this past Wednesday, May 5, there were 24 dead, 89 missing and more than 800 injured in the course of the national demonstration. The Defensor del Pueblo describes itself as, ”The High Commissioner of Parliament responsible for defending citizens’ fundamental rights and civil liberties by monitoring the activity of the Administration and public authorities.”
However, the non-governmental organization Temblores, which documents police abuses, stated that there have been 37 deaths, 1443 cases of police violence, and 10 alleged cases of sexual violence perpetrated by the security forces.
The LEO Fund rejects the violation of human rights and the failure to guarantee them.
Valle del Cauca is the department (similar to “state” in the US) most affected. It is located in the southwest region of Colombia. Most of the violence is happening in the city of Cali, the department’s capital city and the same city that LEO Fund partners call home.
Young people in Cali are losing their lives. There are also violent acts committed by people disguised as civilians who are infiltrating the peaceful demonstrations, adding to citizens’ fear and destruction of infrastructure.
Marisol, a 47 year-old protestor describes what she witnessed at a protest. "On April 28, the first day of the march, the protest was peaceful. We walked through the north of the city, and when we got to the center near the Mayor's office, we were chanting against the tax reform when the police attacked the young people who were further ahead. As a result, chaos and riots broke out that affected the building. I saw it, I was there.”
The LEO Fund stands with the people of Cali and Colombia and their legitimate right to protest.
We believe in human rights and democracy, and we stand with you from the United States and recognize that you are going through difficult times. As partners and friends, we send you our support in this moment of pain and stand in solidarity with you, the people of Cali, Valle del Cauca, and Colombia.
The LEO Fund stands with Cali and Colombia because everyone deserves the right to live a dignified life!