Rights groups condemn massacre of indigenous guards in Colombia

28 Mar 2019

Photo Credit: (Under Creative Commons license) The meandering Cauca River in Colombia, via Santiago Restrepo Calle.

Human rights and indigenous organizations have condemned an attack that killed eight and injured three members of an indigenous guard in Colombia on March 21, according to the People’s Dispatch website.

The guards, who were attending a meeting at the Papitas indigenous reservation, were members of the Waunan, Nasa and Embera Indigenous groups.

“The incident that took place in the midst of a mobilization that has been met with heavy state repression,” the website reported.

The Regional Indigenous Organization of Valle del Cauca (ORIVAC) and the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) urged the government to investigate the blast.

The communities in southwestern Colombia are against laws and proposals such as the government’s National Development Plan. They oppose the intensification of mining and energy projects in the territories, according to People’s Dispatch.

Tens of thousands of Colombian indigenous community members have been participating on a voluntary basis to demand meetings to discuss their demands since March 10, and have faced repression from the government’s Mobile Anti-Disturbance Squad (ESMAD), actions that have also been condemned, the report said.

In Colombia, indigenous guards are elected by their communities and mandated to protect Indigenous lives and territory without the use of arms.

Read the full article at People’s Dispatch by clicking here.

Learn more about Colombia’s indigenous guards here.

Learn more about these topics at the 18th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)  22 April – 3 May 2019 and at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany, 22-23 June 2019.

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