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  • Displaced indigenous community Embera Dobida in Catru, Alto Baudo, Choco. May 20, 2020.

    Displaced indigenous community Embera Dobida in Catru, Alto Baudo, Choco. May 20, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/@RichiNasa

Published 22 May 2020
Opinion

About 1,300 people in the Choco have been forced to move due to clashes among armed groups.

Colombia’s social organizations Thursday denounced a massive displacement in El Choco department, amidst a possible COVID outbreak.

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"We warn of the forced displacement of 1,300 people in Catru, Choco, due to clashes between illegal armed groups. We demand that attacks against Indigenous communities cease and we urge the authorities to protect the population of the territory,” Colombia’s Peace Process Support Mission to of the Organization of American States (MAPP/OEA) tweeted.

In late April, about 90 Embera and Wounaan community members were COVID suspects. The indigenous groups were forced to leave their settlements due to the San Juan River floods and violent group presence.

National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) denounced the displacements and stressed Ivan Duque’s government inaction against attacks and displaced communities' health situation. 

"Since last May 20, in the afternoon, there has been a massive displacement of the Embera Dobida indigenous people of Catrú; this is due to the confrontations between armed groups in Alto Baudo, Choco."
 

"In the municipality, since August of last year, public order events have been taking place that produces displacement and confinement. The communities are abandoning the population to preserve their lives", affirmed Alto Baudo’s Mayor, Ulises Palacios.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) informed that another El Choco community was forced to move in April. Palacios reported that in Santa Rita, Santa Catalina, and Puerto Palacio’s communities, about 200 families were displaced. 

On his part, Senator Feliciano Valencia, former advisor to the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC), stressed that the Embera Dobida indigenous people of Catru live in confinement, avoiding the clashes between armed groups.

So far, Colombia registers 18,330 positive cases, 652 deaths, and 4,431 recoveries. ​​​​​​​

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