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23 May 2024

Concern over threats and smear campaign against woman human rights defender Alicia Pradera and the Pensamiento y Acción Social organisation (PAS)

Front Line Defenders expresses its concern over the threats and smear campaign against woman human rights defender Alicia Pradera, in the framework of her work for environmental and land rights in the communities she supports.

Alicia Pradera is a Colombian educator, researcher, human rights defender and member of the non-governmental organisation Pensamiento y Acción Social (PAS), from which she has accompanied communities and organisations of the south-west of the country in defence of their collective rights related to their territory and environment. She has worked with these communities for over 26 years, allowing the PAS organisation to be recognised at a community level, among other social organisations and in the international community.

At the beginning of May 2024, the woman human rights defender was subjugated to threats and a smear campaign through posts on social media in which non verified information about her private life was shared, questioning her professionalism and advocating for the removal of her access to the communities she supports, thereby restricting her defence work. These messages exemplify a strong form of gender violence, as they attempt to delegitimize the defender based on unsubstantiated accusations regarding her personal life without any factual basis. The context against which these accusations are spread is also deeply concerning, due to conflict between armed groups and strong violence against women being present in the region. The nature of the accusations often lead to severe punishment in this zone, further increasing the risk against human rights defender Alicia Pradera.

Front Line Defenders condemns the recent threats and smear campaign made against Alicia Pradera, which employ fabricated elements regarding her private life in order to prevent her from continuing her work of defence, and negatively impact the human rights work of PAS in this territory. Front Line Defenders supports the important human rights work done by Alicia Pradera and PAS, and calls on authorities, most notably the Prosecutor in charge of the case, to conduct an investigation. This will be crucial in ensuring the safety of the members of the organisation, allowing them to continue their activities in the territory.