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Yimer Chávez Rivera

HRD, Leader
Popular and Campesino Guard (Guardias Campesinas y Populares)

Yimer Chávez Rivera was a member of the Organisation for Urban and Peasant's Development (Organización para el Desarrollo Urbano y Campesino, ORDEURCA) as well as the leader of the Popular and Campesino Guard (Guardias Campesinas y Populares) in the Frontino neighbourhood in the municipality of La Sierra, El Cauca. The Popular and Campesino Guard is made up of unarmed volunteers, and as an organisation it seeks to protect land rights, strengthen community bonds, and promote peace. The objective of the Popular and Campesino Guard is to regularly hold discussions with local farmers, listen to their complaints and relay them to the pertinent authorities or raise the issues with other campesino organisations in order to seek a peaceful resolution.

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.