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  • Woman being treated after having been attacked by Esmad anti-riot forces

    Woman being treated after having been attacked by Esmad anti-riot forces | Photo: Alba Movement

Published 18 March 2019

The anti-riot police have acted in ways that infringe upon people's right to demonstrate and are very worrisome for the Indigenous and Campesino Communties.

The Indigenous and Campesino communities of Cauca in southwestern Colombia, have called on the country's authorities and human rights organizations to be alert for violence from the Mobile Anti-riot Squad (Esmad) of the National Police.

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In a statement, the organizations participating in the minga (work group) for the Defense of Life, Territory, Democracy, Justice and Peace made a list of events that suggest a "possible intervention and aggression by public protection forces on the mingueros (workers) of the southwest."

They highlighted that they have made thus far unsuccessful efforts since February 2018 to hold a meeting with Colombian President Ivan Duque, in order "to have a dialogue with our organization," — these meetings have never matierlialized.

Instead, they say, Esmad attacked the community that was on the Pan-American highway on March 13, leaving 13 injured.

Three days later, Esmad units attacked "indiscriminately the camp of Campesinos in Cairo and the Tunnel located more than one kilometer from the Pan-American highway," the statement said.

On the same day, at 11:30 p.m., a Colombian air force helicopter flew over different areas where the communities were in throwing flares down on them.

These acts have generated great uncertainty regarding the treatment being shown to these demonstrations, he added.

The social minga requested the attention of the "Ministry of the Interior, Ombudsman, Attorney General of the Nation, High Council for Peace, Presidential Counsel for Human Rights and other competent entities."

"To the International Agencies, to include the facts related in this URGENT ACTION in the reports on the human rights situation in Colombia, as well as to issue requests to the State institutions tending to prevent a possible violation of human rights in the framework of the social protestl, "he said.

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