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Indigenous Peoples of Colombia

    March 30, 2016

    Justice for the many victims of human rights abuses and violations amid Colombia’s five-decade armed conflict must lie at the heart of peace talks announced today between the government and the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN), Amnesty International said.

    The government and the ELN, the country’s second largest guerrilla group, said that official peace negotiations between the two sides are soon to begin in Ecuador.

    The country’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC) are expected to sign a peace agreement with the government in the coming weeks or months after more than three years of talks.

    “The talks between the ELN and the government, coupled with an imminent peace deal with the FARC, bring hope that more than half a century of conflict in Colombia might soon be over,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    September 29, 2015

    By Kathy Price,  Colombia campaigner with Amnesty International Canada

    It was great news, the kind of news that underscores how incredibly important our activism is.

    September 24, 2015

    The agreement on transitional justice signed yesterday by the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) brings a ray of hope to the millions of victims of human rights violations and abuses committed during Colombia’s 50-year-long long armed conflict, said Amnesty International.

    However, vague definitions and potential amnesties raise fears that not all human rights abusers will face justice. The only way for Colombia to move forward from its troubled history is to ensure all those who were responsible for the torture, killings, enforced disappearances, crimes of sexual violence or forced displacement of millions of people across the country are finally held to account for their crimes.

    “This agreement is a very significant development and a clear sign that, finally, an end to hostilities is tantalizingly close. However, it still leaves many issues unresolved when it comes to ensuring that the many victims will receive truth, justice and reparation in accordance with international law,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    September 07, 2015

    The Democratic Union Party (PYD)-led autonomous administration in northern Syria is using a crackdown against terrorism and the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) as a pretext to unlawfully detain and unfairly try peaceful critics and civilians believed to be sympathizers or members of alleged terror groups, said Amnesty International.

    Researchers interviewed 10 detainees at two prisons run by the PYD-led autonomous administration, during a fact-finding mission to northern Syria.

    Some had been arbitrarily detained for periods of up to a year without charge or trial. Those who did face trials said they suffered from lengthy pre-trial detention and that proceedings were blatantly unfair. They were denied basic rights including the right to defend themselves, to see the evidence against them, and access to a lawyer and their family.

    “The PYD-led autonomous administration cannot use their fight against terrorism as an excuse to violate the rights of individuals in areas under their control,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.

    July 17, 2015

    Several key provisions of Law 1753, which was approved by Congress on 9 June, and through which the government has implemented the 2014-18 National Development Plan (NDP), must be repealed since they threaten to legitimize the mass land grabs that have marked Colombia’s armed conflict, Amnesty International said today.

    Peasant farmer, Indigenous and Afro-descendant organizations, and several congresspeople, have challenged the legality of several articles in the legislation and last month presented a claim before the Constitutional Court to rule on their constitutionality.

    Law 1753 contains several provisions that might enable mining and other economic interests to gain legal ownership over lands that could have been misappropriated through crimes under international law and human rights violations during the course of the country’s long-running internal armed conflict. This could undermine the right of many of these lands’ legitimate occupants to claim ownership over them.

    March 25, 2015

    The long term viability of any peace agreement risks being seriously undermined if those responsible for human rights abuses, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, are not brought to justice, Amnesty International will tell the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) today.

    Despite the two year-long peace process, involving the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), civilians continue to bear the brunt of the harmful consequences of hostilities. Indigenous People, Afro-descendant and peasant farmer communities are particularly badly affected.

    “While the UN Human Rights Council meets in Geneva today, across Colombia civilians are still being threatened and killed. Thousands continue to be forced from their homes and lands because of the armed conflict. Very few of those suspected of criminal responsibility have ever been brought to justice. This cannot go on,” said Marcelo Pollack, Amnesty International’s Colombia Researcher.

    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!

    May 22, 2014

    By Alex Neve and Ghislain Picard Opinion Editorial Published in Toronto Star May 22, 2014

    The federal government’s new report on Human Rights and the Canada Colombia Free Trade Agreement, quietly submitted as Parliament recessed last week, would have us believe there are no trade and investment-related human rights concerns in Colombia – and no reason to look at what is happening in areas of resource extraction. But deadly realities confronting Indigenous peoples in the South American country tell another story.

    Fifteen year old Génesis Gisselle had just got out of school two weeks ago when the phone rang. An unknown voice delivered a terrifying message: “Tell your family to take care of themselves and of you - because we are going to kill you.”

    May 20, 2014

    Amnesty International Canada and the Assembly of First Nations are expressing serious concern that the federal government has once again issued a “human rights impact assessment” about commerce with Colombia that fails to acknowledge the deadly repression faced by Indigenous peoples, Afro-descendent communities, trade unionists and others in that country. This wilful omission is particularly concerning given testimony by Indigenous leaders from Colombia about dire threats to their very survival in the context of the kind of resource development projects that the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement has served to promote.

    “This report would have parliamentarians believe there are no trade and investment-related human rights concerns in Colombia. This flies in the face of abundant, well-documented evidence to the contrary from a growing chorus of respected Colombian and international organizations,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.

    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 29, 2014

    (Ottawa, ON) – Two weeks before the Canadian government must submit its 2014 report on the human rights effects of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, Amnesty International and the Assembly of First Nations have made an urgent public appeal to the Canadian government about the acute human rights emergency that threatens the very survival of scores of Indigenous peoples in Colombia, many in areas earmarked for resource extraction.

    The call comes a day after Indigenous, labour and environmental organizations in Colombia made public a report expressing concern about the impact of Canadian mining projects and the responsibility of Canada to ensure Canadian-based companies respect human rights in Colombia.

    Earlier this month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights representative in Colombia Todd Howland warned that 40 of the 102 Indigenous nations in Colombia are at risk of extinction. Indigenous organizations have signaled that many others are faced with destruction. All agree that the imposition of mining projects without human rights guarantees is a key factor in this emergency.

    April 29, 2014

    Released 00:01 GMT 30 April, 2014

    Colombia: Presidential candidates must champion human rights

    Human rights and the fight to end impunity in Colombia must be a high priority for all candidates in the presidential elections scheduled for 25 May, Amnesty International said today in a public letter addressed to the five contenders.

    “Human rights should be the cornerstone of any political platform, especially given the backdrop of the ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Havana,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Director for the Americas.

    “A long-sought opportunity for peace may be looming, but the next president of Colombia must not bargain away human rights in the negotiations. The candidates should be clear that a lasting peace can only be built on justice and respect for human rights.”

    April 28, 2014

    (Ottawa, ON) – Two weeks before the Canadian government must submit its 2014 report on the human rights effects of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, Amnesty International and the Assembly of First Nations will hold a press conference to speak out about the worsening human rights emergency that threatens the very survival of scores of Indigenous peoples in Colombia, many living in areas earmarked for resource extraction.

    The press conference in Ottawa comes a day after Indigenous, labour and environmental organizations in Bogota, Colombia make public a report expressing concern about the impact of Canadian mining projects and underscoring the responsibilities of Canada to ensure Canadian-based companies uphold human rights.

    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.

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