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William Castillo Chima

William Castillo Chima

HRD, Founder
Asociación de Hermandades Agroecológicas y Mineras de Guamocó – AHERAMIGUA

William Castillo Chima was a social leader, and the founder and treasurer of Asociación de Hermandades Agroecológicas y Mineras de Guamocó – AHERAMIGUA (Association of Agroecological and Mining Fraternities of Guacomó). AHERAMIGUA, of which Maria Dania Arrieta Perez is a member, is a human rights organisation founded by farmers and miners in Guamocó, Southern Bolívar, that works to defend land rights, and in particular the right of local communities to remain on lands traditionally inhabited by them. AHERAMIGUA has denounced human rights violations perpetrated against communities in the municipality of El Bagre by various actors involved in the armed conflict in the region. Since 2015, conflict in the region has intensified, reportedly due to increasing confrontations between members of the FARC-EP, ELN and the paramilitary group Autodefensas Gaitanistas.

On 7 March 2016, William Castillo Chima was shot dead in the public establishment of “Los Galvanes”,  in Villa Echeverry, in the municipality of El Bagre, Antioquia. The assassination occurred one day after his colleague and fellow human rights defender Ms Maria Dania Arrieta Perez received several death threats in text messages sent to her mobile phone.   

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.