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Marylen Serna Salinas

HRD & Leader
Peasant Movement of Cajibio

Marylen Serna Salinas is the leader of the campesino organisation, Movimiento Campesino de Cajibio - MCC (Peasant Movement of Cajibio), and also exercises leadership roles with Coordinador Nacional Agrario – CNA (Agrarian National Coordinator) and Cumbre Agraria, Campesina, Étnica y Popular (Agrarian, Peasant, Ethnic and Popular Summit). The human rights defender is also the national spokesperson for Congreso de los Pueblos (Congress of Peoples). MCC is a movement for the defence of indigenous and land rights in the northern region of Colombia and Macizo. CNA is an organisation which coordinates the campesino and indigenous movements in Colombia, in order to facilitate their struggle for land and other rights.The Summit gathers different indigenous, afro-descendent, campesino and popular movements in order to propose a new model to strengthen their rights and work. Congreso de los Pueblos is a social movement which brings together different sectors and social actors. Since its launch in 2010, it has had a prominent role in social mobilisations in Colombia, such as the agricultural strikes of 2013, 2014 and 2016.

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.

HRDs at risk in Colombia come from a broad range of different backgrounds, including: trade unionists, indigenous leaders, afro-colombian leaders, activists working with internally displaced persons and on land issues, women's rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, students and youth activists, church workers, LGBTI and HIV activists.