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729 human rights activists killed in Colombia since 1994, United Nations says

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22:  Immigrants from Colombia and Ecuador hold a candlelight vigil for immigration reform on March 22, 2013 in New York City. The group New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform held the vigil to call on Congress  to introduce immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, slows the high number of deportations and protects workers while serving America's economic needs.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Immigrants from Colombia and Ecuador hold a candlelight vigil for immigration reform on March 22, 2013 in New York City. The group New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform held the vigil to call on Congress to introduce immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, slows the high number of deportations and protects workers while serving America's economic needs. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)  (2013 Getty Images)

The United Nations says 729 human rights activists have been killed in Colombia in the past two decades. That's an average of nearly three a month.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights' office in Colombia said in a statement that 30 activists were slain in the first nine months of this year. It added that 20 others were the targets of attempted murder in 2015.

The statement said an "insecure and hostile environment" persists for rights workers in the Andean nation, with authorities unable to guarantee their safety.

The chief prosecutor's office responded Friday by saying investigating violence against activists is a priority.

The figures were released as talks on ending Colombia's half-century-old internal conflict have entered their fourth year. The government has said it expects them to wrap up in early 2016.

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