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  • Members of ONIC Colombia participate in national protests Thursday.

    Members of ONIC Colombia participate in national protests Thursday. | Photo: Twitter / ONIC_Colombia

Published 17 November 2018

Over 400 Indigenous Colombians are returning to their territories after reaching an agreement with the Colombian government. 

The 452 members of the Indigenous peoples of Embera Katio - Eyabida, Dobida, Wounaan, and Zenu of the Municipalities of Riosucio and Carmen del Darien return to the Choco region Friday after reaching a pact with the Colombian government Thursday. They remained in Bogota for five days. 

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The agreement signed with President Ivan Duque includes: the creation of four Indigenous territories in the region, de-mining the region, guaranteeing the protection of 13 indigenous leaders who are currently under threat, a visit by health brigades and a review of school feeding programs scheduled for mid-December, and a report on the progress made in criminal investigations related to the communities.

The Colombian Government also promised to there will be efforts to guarantee security in their territories. ONIC, the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, has reported that since late 2016 -when the peace agreement between the Colombia state and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was signed- violence has forcibly displaced 5,730 Indigenous while 8,245 are suffering from involuntary confinement. 

Furthermore, they have denounced that 10 Indigenous leaders have been tortured, 25 recruited by illegal armed forces, and 65 have been murdered. 

The Indigenous communities also participated in Thursday's national mobilization organized by public university students and workers' unions.

"Long live the Indigenous peoples, Mother Earth, the students' struggle! The streets of Bogota are filling up with dignity."

Local media has already reported the state if failing to fulfill the agreement. The government had promised to provide them with transport at 9 p.m. to be taken back to their territories. The buses did not arrive until midnight. 

Now the communities hope to return without "re-victimization or retaliation by armed groups."


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