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Colombian indigenous peoples still victims of the war between the Farcs and the army

The indigenous peoples of Colombia on Wednesday (August 9th) denounced violations of their rights, including the confiscation of their land, armed groups, and multinationals, despite the implementation of the peace agreement with the FARC guerrillas.

“Indigenous territories remain contested by paramilitary groups, ELN, armed forces, FARC dissident groups, drug traffickers, multinationals,” said Luis Fernando Arias, the first councilor of the indigenous Colombia (ONIC).

Colombian indigenous peoples still victims of the war between the Farcs and the army

Mr. Arias stressed that “the horrible night for the indigenous peoples” is not over, despite the signing in November 2016 of a historic peace agreement ending more than half a century of confrontation with The Marxist guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the main rebellion in the country and the oldest in the Americas.

Land confiscations, anti-personnel mines

“The selective assassinations, dice investments, threats, disappearances, confiscation of land, victims of landmines, forced recruitment and, systematically, all types of human rights violations have continued” , a- “He added during statements on the sidelines of a conference held in Bogotá on the occasion of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples.

The ONIC leader called on the government and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the last active guerrillas in Colombia, to “not stand up “ from the peace talks that began in February 2017, reach a bilateral and definitive cease-fire.

The presidential adviser for human rights, Paula Gaviria, stressed that one of the post-conflict challenges was to compensate the indigenous population. According to the Government, 190,619 indigenous people are registered as direct victims of the armed conflict, which has led to guerrilla, paramilitary and armed conflicts over the decades, causing at least 260,000 deaths, more than 60,000 missing persons and 7.1 million displaced persons.

32 out of 102 ethnic groups threatened with extinction

Colombia has 102 indigenous ethnic groups, thirty-two of them threatened with extinction, with fewer than 200 people, according to the ONIC, and thirty-four other communities are threatened with extermination by the violence of conflict in their territories, according to the Constitutional Court.

Martin Santiago, the UN resident coordinator in Colombia, said that “progress” has been made over the past decade in the recognition of indigenous rights.  We need to highlight some of the challenges we still have to face in order for recognition to become full enjoyment and exercise of these rights,” he told Agence France Presse.

 

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