Assassination of Colombian Activist

22 August 2011

The Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice strongly condemns the assassination of Colombian women’s rights activist and League of Displaced Women (Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas) member, Keila Esther Berrio Almanza, and send our deepest condolences to her family and friends.  We urge the Government to ensure that an investigation is carried out into her assassination and other similar atrocities, and to provide effective protection to prevent its reoccurrence. The following is a statement from the Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas.

Read the statement here or below.
Read more about the work of the League here.

URGENT /Cartagena 22 July 2011


The Observatory Gender Democracy and Human Rights (Observatorio Género Democracia y Derechos Humanos) and the League of Displaced Women (Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas), organizations that are based in the Department of Bolivar in Colombia, publicly denounce the assassination of our sister KEILA ESTHER BERRÍO ALMANZA, 31 years old, mother of a 9-year-old daughter and 2 sons, 11 and 12 years of age. Keila –second generation of women activists in the League of Displaced Women – is the daughter of Mrs. EVERLEDIS ALMANZA CHARRY, woman founder of the League of Displaced Women in the Municipality of Turbaco, Bolivar.

Keila lived in the City of Women (la Ciudad de las Mujeres), located in the Municipality of Turbaco, as a beneficiary of the League of Displaced Women’s housing project, founded in 2006. Keila and her family are beneficiaries of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) Precautionary Measures 319-09.

Since the Precautionary Measures were granted in November 2009, expanded on 16 June 2010 and on 7 March 2011 to include the entire organization, the League of Displaced Women has repeatedly requested that the Colombian State neutralize the increasing risk factors that generate violence against the organization’s women and their families because of their recognized leadership as activist women who defend their human rights, and as victims of the armed conflict in the region.

Since its founding in 1999 the organization its projects and its women leaders have been attacked; these crimes have continued up until now in impunity.

The League of Displaced Women has been threatened by the self-named Black Eagles (Águilas Negras) and the Revolutionary Anti-Communist Army (Ejercito Revolucionario Popular Anticomunista ERPAC) in more than five occasions throughout 2000 and in the first half of 2011.

Despite statements by authorities that the crimes against the League are isolated events, the organization recognizes a cycle of violence and a pattern of discrimination where women are attacked for their love relations, the consumption of substances, management of resources, in that way throwing investigations off-track, and more seriously, trying to make the victims responsible for the assaults against them as if they generate their own risk.

 The Observatory Gender Democracy and Human Rights and the League of Displaced Women hold the State responsible for its negligence in its duty to prevent and protect, and for the absolute impunity in the investigation of criminal acts against the organization, which has allowed the repetition of violence against women of the organization, their families, and its projects.