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Colombia Indigenous Survival

    October 07, 2016

    Today’s awarding of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos underscores the expectation that Colombians will persevere in their search for peace with justice, Amnesty International said.

    “Millions of Colombians still demand peace and justice. Today’s announcement honours not only the initiative taken by President Santos and his government, but many others both within Colombia and beyond who are seeking a path to peace with justice,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    “We hope today’s announcement will embolden the parties to continue efforts to reach a definitive peace agreement that ensures the right of victims to truth, justice and reparation and brings an end to the human rights violations that have marked the armed conflict.

    August 21, 2014

     

    A trusted partner of Amnesty Canada urgently needs our support

    By Kathy Price
    Colombia Campaigner, Amnesty International

    The terrible news came via a skype call from Colombia. Juan Pablo Gutiérrez, the big-hearted, creative, hard-working advocate for the rights of threatened Indigenous peoples and collaborator with Amnesty Canada, told me about receiving an envelope containing a death threat from the notorious Aguilas Negras (Black Eagles), a feared paramilitary group.

    The message warned that Juan Pablo was now a paramilitary target and would be killed for his work with the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), a coalition with whom Amnesty International Canada has worked closely in recent years.

    The death threat had been delivered to Juan Pablo as he waited for public transit near his home, en route to work, making clear that the paramilitaries had been monitoring his movements and knew where to find him.

    June 19, 2014
    Street protest for the survival of Indigenous peoples in Colombia

    By Kathy Price, Colombia Campaigner

    It was two years ago that courageous Indigenous women and men in Colombia sent photo messages to Canada to tell us about deadly assaults on their lives and lands.

    Photo messages like the one from this Kankuamo woman - who writes "We want to live in peace on our lands" - put faces on an acute yet hidden human rights emergency. The very survival of more than a third of Indigenous peoples in Colombia, including the Kankuamo, is in jeopardy amidst attacks, forced displacement and the imposition of resource extraction projects that are increasing with promotion by Canada’s free trade agreement with Colombia.

    Indigenous rights defenders in Colombia, many of them threatened with death for their vital work, urged us to speak out with them. In attention-grabbing numbers, you have done just that!

    April 29, 2014
    Canadians deliver 65,000 messages in support of Indigenous peoples in Colombia

    by Kathy Price, Campaigner for the Americas, Amnesty International Canada

    A message that can't be ignored

    Today we brought the faces and voices of concerned Canadians to Parliament Hill, along with an urgent message: Canada's free trade deal with Colombia creates special obligations to protect the rights and survival of threatened Indigenous peoples in the South American country.

    On the steps of Parliament, we displayed beautiful, heartfelt photo messages from activists across Canada. Then we went inside to present the government with a box jam-packed with petitions - thousands and thousands of them. In total, more than 65,000 people signed actions calling for immediate measures to protect the rights and survival of Indigenous peoples on their lands in Colombia.

    April 07, 2014

    Over 9,000 Amnesty supporters have spoken up about the grave danger facing Flaminio Onogama Gutiérrez, following death threats and the assassination of two of his family members.

    April 07, 2014

    The Canadian Parliament must take a close look at the extreme violence facing Indigenous peoples in Colombia.

    Canada has entered into a free trade agreement with Colombia which promotes investment by Canadian companies seeking to benefit from a resource extraction boom in the South American country. Under the agreement, the government of Canada is obliged to submit an annual report to Parliament on human rights effects.

    It's time for Canada to take this responsibility seriously.

    Amnesty International has documented a pattern of violence against Indigenous leaders and communities in Colombia who oppose the imposition of economic projects, including resource extraction, that will impact on their land.

    Here's one example.

    Flaminio Onogama Gutiérrez is a prominent Indigenous human rights defender who visited Canada in 2010 to draw attention to the crisis facing Indigenous peoples in Colombia.

    March 25, 2014

    Colombia’s government is failing to address the country’s critical human rights situation said Amnesty International today ahead of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ annual review of the country.  

    Despite on-going peace talks in Havana between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest guerrilla group, human rights violations and abuses continue unabated.

    Tomorrow, High Commissioner Navi Pillay will present her annual review of the situation in Colombia to the UN Human Rights Council.

    “The peace talks represent the best opportunity in over a decade to put an end to the 50-year-old armed conflict. However, the warring parties continue to be responsible for appalling serious human rights violations and abuses. These include forced displacement, extrajudicial killings, kidnappings, abductions, and enforced disappearances,” said Marcelo Pollack, Amnesty International’s researcher on Colombia.

    March 24, 2014

    Human rights, development, and labour groups have serious misgivings about the Canadian government’s commitment to carry out a meaningful assessment of the human rights impact of its controversial free trade agreement with Colombia, as is legally stipulated by annual reporting requirements in the agreement.

    Concerns were heightened when it came to light that government analysis for the 2014 report, due on or before May 15, would be based in part on an online consultation that lasts just six working days. A call for submissions by “interested parties” was quietly posted on a government webpage on March 19, 2014. The deadline given for submissions is six working days later on March 26, 2014.  Canadian organizations with a long history of involvement with Colombia had been asking government officials for months to share information about the plans for consultation, including timelines, deadlines and how to participate. These details were not provided until after the unreasonably short consultation period had actually been launched.

    January 20, 2014
    Flaminio Onogama, Indigenous leader from Colombia, visiting Hampton High School, New Brunswick, Canada. Flaminio is in the foreground, at right. Photo @ Kathy Price

    By Kathy Price, Campaigner for Americas, Amnesty International Canada

    A threatened Indigenous leader in Colombia needs your help. 

    See our Urgent Action

    There are many things I remember about my trip to the Maritimes in 2010 with Flaminio Onogama Gutierrez. I remember the soft-spoken, yet passionate words of the Embera Chami Indigenous leader as he met with community activists in Saint John and Hampton, explaining about the bombing of Indigenous communities in Colombia, the terror that made families run for their lives. I remember his warm smile as he talked to high school students and helped them to understand the human rights crisis in Colombia and Canada’s connections. It is so important to teach the next generation, he told me.

    October 22, 2013

    By Kathy Price, Colombia campaigner with Amnesty International Canada

     

    Witnesses report that security forces fired tear gas canisters filled with shrapnel directly at demonstrators.

    Dozens of indigenous protesters have been injured when Colombian security forces appear to have used excessive force against demonstrations. © LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images

    May 14, 2013

    by Kathy Price, Amnesty International Canada's campaigner on Colombia

    Photo:Though he did not dare risk giving his name, this Indigenous man wanted to share an appeal that cannot be ignored: “No” to human rights violations. We need help. “Yes” to life!...by Juan Pablo Gutierrez 

    The reality of what is happening in Colombia, the spectacularly beautiful and diverse country with whom Canada is now linked via a free trade deal, is hard to take in. The immensity of it is shocking. According to the Constitutional Court of Colombia, at least a third of Indigenous Peoples in the South American country are threatened with physical or cultural “extermination” amidst armed conflict in their territory by third parties and grave human rights violations linked to efforts to take control of their resource-rich lands.

    You can raise your voice for action

    The Colombian government recently signed a peace accord with FARC rebels and initiated peace talks with ELN rebels, yet violence and human rights abuses continue in Colombia, particularly in areas of economic interest that are often in or near the territory of Indigenous Peoples. The rights and survival of Indigenous Peoples in Colombia, many of which are literally threatened with being wiped out, is central to a lasting peace.

    Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear:

    Luis Fernando Arias, Chief Counsel of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) and a Kankuamo Indigenous leader, during the Toronto stop of a Canadian visit co-sponsored by Amnesty International.

    The event will also feature:

    Terrylynn Brant, Turtle clan of the Mohawk Nation of Grand River, Six Nations and traditional Mohawk Seedkeeper. Music by Ruben Esguerra - multi-instrumentalist, lyricist and arts educator born in Colombia.

    Food and refreshments will be provided.

    When: Tuesday March 7th from 7:00 – 9:00 pm

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