Business and Human Rights Defenders in Colombia
Colombia’s economy is dominated by land-intensive industries where operations often bring significant human rights risks. This makes the work of human rights defenders (HRDs) and civil society in the country critical to bringing shared prosperity, freedom and sustainability.
But our analysis shows that defenders who seek to prevent or expose abuse by businesses face concerted and sometimes deadly attacks. This report examines the relationship of business to attacks on human rights defenders in Colombia between 2015 and 2019. Our data shows Colombia to be the second most dangerous country in the world for attacks on HRDs working on business issues, hosting 9% of all cases globally.
At least 72 defenders have been killed because they were raising business-related human rights concerns. Ninety percent of attacks were on defenders working on either mining, fossil fuels, agriculture and livestock, or hydroelectric plants and dams. Districts with high investment in these industries, as per government data, were also more dangerous for defenders.