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Emilsen Manyoma

HRD & Leader
Comunidades Construyendo Paz en los Territorios (Communities Building Peace in the Territories, CONPAZ)

Emilsen Manyoma was the leader of the Comunidades Construyendo Paz en los Territorios (Communities Building Peace in the Territories, CONPAZ) in Buenaventura. CONPAZ is an initiative of communities and organisations that live in territories where the armed conflict is taking place and national and international companies are present. CONPAZ is also a mutual support network for communities to be able to exchange experiences relating to non-violent protection and application of international humanitarian law.

Emilsen Manyoma was also a supporter of the Espacio Humanitario Puente Nayero (Humanitarian Space Puente Nayero), a space created in 13 April 2014 in the neighbourhood of Playita, in Buenaventura. The purpose of the project is to create a space free from armed groups in an urban context. From mid-2016 onwards, human rights defender Emilsen Manyoma had also been supporting the work of the Truth Commission by documenting killings and forced disappearances.

She was killed along with her husband, Joe Javier Rodallega, on 17 January 2017. Their bodies were found with bruises, stab wounds and gunshot wounds in the neighbourhood of el Progreso in Buenaventura.

HRDs in Colombia work in a violent and unsafe environment. They are subjected to threats, intimidation, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, physical assaults, torture, killings, illegal searches of their homes and offices and stigmatisation as a result of their activities in defence of human rights. The perpetrators of these abuses are frequently paramilitary groups, many of whom have links to the government or security services, or armed opposition groups. The continued frequent and severe threats and attacks against HRDs around the country contradict government claims of paramilitary demobilisation.