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News > Colombia

Colombia: UN Rapporteur Warns of Violence Against Indigenous

  • Indigenous communities in southern Colombia faces an increase in violence. March 25, 2022.

    Indigenous communities in southern Colombia faces an increase in violence. March 25, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@ProtestaBloc

Published 25 March 2022

The humanrights rapporteur condemned the violence unleashed against the Nasa people in the southwestern Cauca province.

Mary Lawlor, United Nations Special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, called on Colombia's government to crack down on violence against indigenous people in the southwest of the country.

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Referring to recent reports on the murders and forced conscription of children in Cauca, the official said it is extremely worrying and alarming that children suffer these attacks. She made this urgent call to take action in response to the murder of Breiner David Cucuñame, an environmental guard of 14 years old from an indigenous reservation in Buenos Aires' municipality. 

Dissident FARC guerrillas reportedly assassinated Breiner David Cucuñame in January, when the 13-year-old son of former indigenous governor José Albeiro Camayo was also kidnapped by suspected guerrillas who previously assassinated the boy's father. 

The official said that the government must effectively investigate these cases, provide reparations to the victims and dismantle the groups that generate this violence seeking to control the Nasa people's territory. Likewise, they must adopt prevention and protection measures for the communities and support the strengthening of the Nasa people's own self-protection strategies and organization, Lawlor also said. 

UN's special rapporteurs on the rights of indigenous peoples, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions and the Committee on the Rights of the Child have enforced the call made by the special rapporteur. 

The Nasa people have said that they have been suffering an extermination campaign for years and have organized multiple protests to demand attention. The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia stated, "it is unacceptable that such social and armed conflict continues to annihilate Indigenous Peoples in a war that is not ours, we cannot let go unnoticed, the murder of comrades, leaders, guards and community members who have given their lives to defend the individual and collective rights of Indigenous Peoples and Nations, as were many comrades who have fallen at the hands of murderers, who only feed hatred and despair."   

Fourteen of the 24 homicides that have been registered this year in Cauca up until now correspond to members of indigenous communities. The indigenous people in this region have been facing an increasing attack since they are trying to reassert control over the territory that was controlled for a long time by the now-extinct FARC guerrilla group. The territorial control of the indigenous guard has been the cause of conflicts with dissident FARC guerrillas who are trying to get back territory lost in a peace process that began in 2016.


Mary Lawlor
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