Maritza Quiroz Leiva was an Afro Colombian social activist, a community leader and women human rights defender. Among the 7.7 million Colombians internally displaced by 50 years of armed conflict, Maritza dedicated her advocacy work to supporting the rights of others, particularly in the Afro Colombian community who suffered similar violations and displacement.
Maritza was the deputy leader of the Santa Marta Victim's Committee, and an important voice for those seeking justice in her community, demanding reparations for the torture, kidnapping, displacement, and sexual violence that victims experienced during the armed conflict. She was also active in movement for land redistribution and land justice in the country.
On 5 January 2019, Maritza was killed by two armed individuals who broke into her home. She was 60 years old.
Maritza joined five other Colombian social activists and leaders who had been murdered just in the first week of 2019. A total of 107 human rights defenders were killed that year in the country.