UN: Deaths of human rights leaders in Colombia show pattern

A new United Nations report is casting a shadow on peace efforts in Colombia, drawing attention to the killings of dozens of rights activists and warning that armed groups are occupying drug territories as the nation's largest rebel group starts demobilizing.

The report released Thursday by the U.N. high commissioner for human rights said 127 activist deaths were counted in 2016, even as Colombia moved toward implementing an historic peace accord. Half of the deaths were of human rights leaders while others were members of leftist political organizations. Many occurred in areas previously occupied by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

U.N. representative Todd Howland said the Colombian government must recognize the deaths show a pattern and move to provide protection to those in danger.