Colombian police are investigating an acid attack perpetrated against a human rights activist, Lilia Patricia Cardozo, in the country’s northwestern Boyaca region, according to the city’s council.
Cardozo is the director of a womens’ rights NGO called Plataforma Feminista Boyacense (Boyacense Feminist Platform), which works to end domestic abuse, gender violence and discrimination, including rescuing victims from the hands of abusers.
On Monday, an unknown attacker threw a chemical substance at Cardozo while she was walking in a park. Cardozo, who is still under medical observation, suffered injuries in the left part of her face, the spokesperson for the NGO wrote on Facebook.
The San Rafael de Tunja University Hospital said the chemical substance thrown at Cardozo affected 4% of her body, including her face, and her chest.
Cardozo has been a target of death threats since 2022, which led the country’s National Protection Unit to approve a safety protocol to protect her last September.
But the Boyacense Feminist Platform has accused Tunja’s local authorities of leaving Cardozo exposed by activating the safety protocol too slowly.
Tunja’s Mayor, Alejandro Funeme, said the protocol was implemented late on February 14, due to the lack of funds.
Local police are investigating the incident and working to identify the attacker, who faces a charges of femicide.
Women and human rights defenders are particularly at risk in Colombia. In 2022, 614 cases of femicide were reported, according to Colombia’s Attorney General’s Office.
Since 2016, more than 500 human rights activists have been killed in the country, making it one of the deadliest countries for human rights defenders worldwide, according to Human Rights Watch.