Starting April 28th, Colombia has been living public peaceful protests against a tax reform proposed to the government affecting the working-class daily economy and popular sectors working on the informal market. After a week of clashes in the streets in the capital, Bogota, and other important cities such as Medellín, Pereira, and Cali, the government withdraws the new tax legislation. Nevertheless, the economic and social situation in country has been drastically deteriorated during last year with Covid-19 situation, and even with the tax legislation withdraw, the demands from civil society are multiple faced to the low governmental response, and the national strike has been confirmed to continue. The Ombudsperson office reported 26 people killed due to police violence until May 9th, and human rights organizations reported 47 people killed until May 9th. Confrontations between police forces and protesters continue. President Ivan Duque is running a concertation table with different political, economic, and social representatives with no results, as he continues to support the actions of the national police. On May 10th, indigenous communities from the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) joined the manifestations in Cali and were attacked by armed civilians, with dozens hurt.
CARE call out to ensure human rights during the peaceful protests and the life defense over all circumstances.
Marten Mylius, CARE Colombia Country Director comment on the situation:
“We express our concern and rejection of the situation of violence Colombia is going through in recent weeks. There is evidence of high levels of violence and abuse on the security forces, which affect the entire exercise of human rights. We call for the right to life and peaceful protest to be guaranteed by the government and make an urgent call to overcome the crisis and achieve peace.”
According information provided by the Pan American Health Organization, Colombia is the third country in the Americas with the highest rate of COVID 19 daily cases (17,222) and deaths (495), only surpass by the United States and Brazil. Most of the important cities of the country, including the capital Bogota, keep the health system on red alert as result of a third wave of contagious. Vaccination process has reached 6 million people, only 4.4% of the country population.