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  • Funeral of indigenous leader in the Cauca Valley, Colombia, August 13, 2019.

    Funeral of indigenous leader in the Cauca Valley, Colombia, August 13, 2019. | Photo: Twitter / @CRIC_Cauca

Published 14 August 2019

The murder of two 'guards' on Saturday attests to the dramatic situation that indigenous communities live daily.

The Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) condemned the death of two Indigenous leaders on the hands of irregular groups linked to drug trafficking and declared an emergency situation in the Cauca Valley due to the inability of the Colombian state to protect the lives of social leaders and human rights defenders.

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"We will not be intimidated by the voices of death and we will defend life until the end, whatever the cost may be," the CRIC said and called attention to "the persistence and increase of violent acts with high rates of robberies, attacks, murders, threats, disappearances, and forced recruitment of young people" in its territory.

So far this year, illegal armed groups have killed 36 members of Nasa, an Indigenous people whose communities are dispersed across the departments of Valle del Cauca, Tolima, Putumayo, Huila, Caqueta and Meta. Those groups have also attacked eight Indigenous leaders and threatened 53 more with death.

"The Colombian state's responses to this situation is insufficient," the CRIC explained and recalled that the right-wing President Ivan Duque has not yet agreed to maintain a dialogue with the Indigenous peoples.

The CRIC statement was released just a few days after two Indigenous guards, Kevin Ademir, 23, and Eugenio Tenorio, 46, were killed on Aug. 10.

"Today we express our solidarity and accompany the Indigenous peoples in their courage and dignity, particularly to the Nasa brothers in Caloto, in the Cauca Valley. Let's defend peace." The meme reads, "Indigenous peoples, Force!. 97 members of the Indigenous communities were killed over the last year. Six murders and 30 attacks were recorded in the last month."

Between November 2016 and July 2019, at least 627 social leaders and human rights defenders were killed, according to the Institute for Development and Peace (Indepaz). Meanwhile, 138 ex-guerrilla fighters were also killed by paramilitary forces in the same period.

On Aug. 10, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed its "deep concern over repeated attacks" against the Nasa indigenous people in the Cauca Valley.

Also, the Catholic Church on Tuesday called on Colombian public institutions to design effective and coordinated plans against those responsible for the murder and threats to Indigenous communities.

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