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  • Inga and Kamentzá checkpoints in the Sibundoy Valley in Putumayo

    Inga and Kamentzá checkpoints in the Sibundoy Valley in Putumayo | Photo: Twitter/@ONIC_Colombia

Published 25 March 2020

Colombia's indigenous leaders demand that President Ivan Duque take measures for their health security.

Indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian-Colombian region are implementing autonomous actions to prevent Covid-19 from spreading. The natives do not have government support in this health-risk situation.

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The National Organization of the Arhuaco people, which is part of the Tayrona Indigenous Confederation (CIT) in Colombia, announced on March 23 that they have taken several measures to prevent the spread of the virus among the native peoples. 

According to a statement on its official Twitter account, the indigenous authorities ordered the closure of tourist sites, limiting vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Among other measures, two checkpoints were activated in the municipality of Pueblo Bello in the northern department of Cesar. Access to indigenous reserves will also be restricted.


Several users on social media criticized the government's neglect of the Indigenous peoples in the face of the pandemic and the risk to their population, considered vulnerable and at risk of the disease.

In response to this situation, the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) is requesting medical supplements, food for cases of isolation and sanitary masks. Besides, they are asking for financial and material donations for the Minsak people.

Colombia's indigenous leaders demand that President Ivan Duque take measures for their health security. They also request a ceasefire from armed groups during the exceptional situation due to Covid-19.

In Brazil, native communities also pointed out the government's indifference towards their situation and rights. Servants Association of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) in the South American nation denounced the irresponsibility of Brazilian Chief of State, Jair Bolsonaro, in the care of the original communities and implementing Covid-19 restricting strategies for them. FUNAI representatives explain that indigenous communities are more vulnerable to the disease because of their unstable health care.

The United Nations reveals that in South America there are 119 indigenous communities in voluntary isolation due to the risk of contagion.

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