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Make it Visible Slideshow

    There are 102 Indigenous Peoples in Colombia. At least a third of them are at risk of being wiped out.
    There are 102 Indigenous Peoples in Colombia. At least a third of them are at risk of being wiped out.
    A decades-long armed conflict in Colombia has had a profoundly destructive impact on Indigenous peoples. Community members have been attacked, raped and killed by all the combatants, including the army, so-called paramilitaries who often collude with the army, and their enemies, the guerrilla. In the last 10 years alone, threats and violence have driven more than 90,000 Indigenous people from the land on which their survival depends.
    A decades-long armed conflict in Colombia has had a profoundly destructive impact on Indigenous peoples. Community members have been attacked, raped and killed by all the combatants, including the army, so-called paramilitaries who often collude with the army, and their enemies, the guerrilla. In the last 10 years alone, threats and violence have driven more than 90,000 Indigenous people from the land on which their survival depends.
    Two of this woman’s relatives were taken away by insurgents and forced to join them. She never saw them again. Amidst the ongoing armed conflict, Indigenous boys and girls remain at risk of forced recruitment by both insurgents and paramilitaries. In an effort to protect their children, many families have felt compelled to flee only to face other threats to their survival far from their land and livelihoods.
    Two of this woman’s relatives were taken away by insurgents and forced to join them. She never saw them again. Amidst the ongoing armed conflict, Indigenous boys and girls remain at risk of forced recruitment by both insurgents and paramilitaries. In an effort to protect their children, many families have felt compelled to flee only to face other threats to their survival far from their land and livelihoods.
    Imposition of resource extraction projects in Indigenous territory has coincided with reports of contamination and health problems, as well as militarization and violence. When Indigenous communities protest or oppose such projects, they face death threats and killings. Violence or the threat of it has forced entire communities to flee their land and livelihoods.
    Imposition of resource extraction projects in Indigenous territory has coincided with reports of contamination and health problems, as well as militarization and violence. When Indigenous communities protest or oppose such projects, they face death threats and killings. Violence or the threat of it has forced entire communities to flee their land and livelihoods.
    In 2009, the Constitutional Court of Colombia determined 34 Indigenous nations – including the Wayuu – to be in imminent danger of 'extermination' due to the impact of armed conflict and forced displacement, with its multiple causes. The Court called the situation 'an emergency which is as serious as it is invisible'. It ordered the government to take action to protect the rights and survival of these Peoples. Effective protection has yet to be implemented.
    In 2009, the Constitutional Court of Colombia determined 34 Indigenous nations – including the Wayuu – to be in imminent danger of 'extermination' due to the impact of armed conflict and forced displacement, with its multiple causes. The Court called the situation 'an emergency which is as serious as it is invisible'. It ordered the government to take action to protect the rights and survival of these Peoples. Effective protection has yet to be implemented.
    The Kankuamo have also identified by Colombia's highest court as being at risk of "extermination". Massacres, assassinations and other atrocities have decimated communities. Resource development megaprojects have been linked to the violence.
    The Kankuamo have also identified by Colombia's highest court as being at risk of "extermination". Massacres, assassinations and other atrocities have decimated communities. Resource development megaprojects have been linked to the violence.
    The right to traditional lands is crucial to the Zenú and all Indigenous peoples in Colombia. These lands are a vital element of their identity, livelihoods and ways of life, and essential for their survival. The Zenú have suffered grave human rights abuses as they have sought to defend their territory and rights. In 2009, the Constitutional Court gave the government 6 months to devise and implement a plan to protect the Zenú from being wiped out. More than three years on the Zenú remain at risk
    The right to traditional lands is crucial to the Zenú and all Indigenous peoples in Colombia. These lands are a vital element of their identity, livelihoods and ways of life, and essential for their survival. The Zenú have suffered grave human rights abuses as they have sought to defend their territory and rights. In 2009, the Constitutional Court gave the government 6 months to devise and implement a plan to protect the Zenú from being wiped out. More than three years on the Zenú remain at risk
    This Zenú man testified: “In the struggle to defend our rights, many of our leaders were assassinated by security forces and paramilitaries. Now multinational companies arriving with government permission and taking over our land.” In Colombia Indigenous people who oppose resource extraction projects face threats and killings. Their right to make decisions about what happens on their lands is violated again and again. There are reasons why this emergency situation belongs squarely on Canada’s po
    This Zenú man testified: “In the struggle to defend our rights, many of our leaders were assassinated by security forces and paramilitaries. Now multinational companies arriving with government permission and taking over our land.” In Colombia Indigenous people who oppose resource extraction projects face threats and killings. Their right to make decisions about what happens on their lands is violated again and again. There are reasons why this emergency situation belongs squarely on Canada’s po
    In 2012, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights heard testimony about the impacts of large-scale mining on the Wayúu , including reports of environmental contamination, the loss of plants and food crops, and an increase in cancer. They also heard about the militarization that has come with mining development, the escalation of armed conflict, grave human rights abuses and forced displacement. “We fear the Wayúu will become extinct,” said Angélica Ortiz of Fuerza Mujeres Wayuu.
    In 2012, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights heard testimony about the impacts of large-scale mining on the Wayúu , including reports of environmental contamination, the loss of plants and food crops, and an increase in cancer. They also heard about the militarization that has come with mining development, the escalation of armed conflict, grave human rights abuses and forced displacement. “We fear the Wayúu will become extinct,” said Angélica Ortiz of Fuerza Mujeres Wayuu.
    Discrimination against Indigenous peoples is widely entrenched in Colombia, resulting in high rates of poverty and exclusion. The UN’s independent expert on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, says extraction of natural resources and other major development projects in or near indigenous territory constitute one of the most significant sources of abuse of their human rights.  Mr Anaya has called for a visit to Colombia by the UN’s Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide.
    Discrimination against Indigenous peoples is widely entrenched in Colombia, resulting in high rates of poverty and exclusion. The UN’s independent expert on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, says extraction of natural resources and other major development projects in or near indigenous territory constitute one of the most significant sources of abuse of their human rights. Mr Anaya has called for a visit to Colombia by the UN’s Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide.
    Indigenous peoples in Colombia are courageously organizing to defend their right to survive. They have appealed for us to raise our voices with them. Their appeal is one we cannot fail to hear and heed: “The survival of Indigenous peoples with dignity in Colombia is in all of our hands.”
    Indigenous peoples in Colombia are courageously organizing to defend their right to survive. They have appealed for us to raise our voices with them. Their appeal is one we cannot fail to hear and heed: “The survival of Indigenous peoples with dignity in Colombia is in all of our hands.”
    Pressure from Canada would make a significant difference, particularly given the special relationship our government has with the Colombian government. The government of Stephen Harper launched a free trade agreement with Colombia, asserting it would give Canada more influence to press for human rights. We must insist that Canada is part of the solution, not the problem, . particularly as Canadian companies move in to Colombia to exploit natural resources there. We must show the deep concern of
    Pressure from Canada would make a significant difference, particularly given the special relationship our government has with the Colombian government. The government of Stephen Harper launched a free trade agreement with Colombia, asserting it would give Canada more influence to press for human rights. We must insist that Canada is part of the solution, not the problem, . particularly as Canadian companies move in to Colombia to exploit natural resources there. We must show the deep concern of
    The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia sent us the following appeal for international support:  “When an Indigenous People disappears, a whole world is extinguished forever, along with its culture, spirituality, language, ancestral knowledge … The survival of Indigenous Peoples with dignity is in all of our hands.”
    The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia sent us the following appeal for international support: “When an Indigenous People disappears, a whole world is extinguished forever, along with its culture, spirituality, language, ancestral knowledge … The survival of Indigenous Peoples with dignity is in all of our hands.”
    There are 102 Indigenous Peoples in Colombia. At least a third of them are at risk of being wiped out.
    A decades-long armed conflict in Colombia has had a profoundly destructive impact on Indigenous peoples. Community members have been attacked, raped and killed by all the combatants, including the army, so-called paramilitaries who often collude with the army, and their enemies, the guerrilla. In the last 10 years alone, threats and violence have driven more than 90,000 Indigenous people from the land on which their survival depends.
    Two of this woman’s relatives were taken away by insurgents and forced to join them. She never saw them again. Amidst the ongoing armed conflict, Indigenous boys and girls remain at risk of forced recruitment by both insurgents and paramilitaries. In an effort to protect their children, many families have felt compelled to flee only to face other threats to their survival far from their land and livelihoods.
    Imposition of resource extraction projects in Indigenous territory has coincided with reports of contamination and health problems, as well as militarization and violence. When Indigenous communities protest or oppose such projects, they face death threats and killings. Violence or the threat of it has forced entire communities to flee their land and livelihoods.
    In 2009, the Constitutional Court of Colombia determined 34 Indigenous nations – including the Wayuu – to be in imminent danger of 'extermination' due to the impact of armed conflict and forced displacement, with its multiple causes. The Court called the situation 'an emergency which is as serious as it is invisible'. It ordered the government to take action to protect the rights and survival of these Peoples. Effective protection has yet to be implemented.
    The Kankuamo have also identified by Colombia's highest court as being at risk of "extermination". Massacres, assassinations and other atrocities have decimated communities. Resource development megaprojects have been linked to the violence.
    The right to traditional lands is crucial to the Zenú and all Indigenous peoples in Colombia. These lands are a vital element of their identity, livelihoods and ways of life, and essential for their survival. The Zenú have suffered grave human rights abuses as they have sought to defend their territory and rights. In 2009, the Constitutional Court gave the government 6 months to devise and implement a plan to protect the Zenú from being wiped out. More than three years on the Zenú remain at risk
    This Zenú man testified: “In the struggle to defend our rights, many of our leaders were assassinated by security forces and paramilitaries. Now multinational companies arriving with government permission and taking over our land.” In Colombia Indigenous people who oppose resource extraction projects face threats and killings. Their right to make decisions about what happens on their lands is violated again and again. There are reasons why this emergency situation belongs squarely on Canada’s po
    In 2012, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights heard testimony about the impacts of large-scale mining on the Wayúu , including reports of environmental contamination, the loss of plants and food crops, and an increase in cancer. They also heard about the militarization that has come with mining development, the escalation of armed conflict, grave human rights abuses and forced displacement. “We fear the Wayúu will become extinct,” said Angélica Ortiz of Fuerza Mujeres Wayuu.
    Discrimination against Indigenous peoples is widely entrenched in Colombia, resulting in high rates of poverty and exclusion. The UN’s independent expert on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, says extraction of natural resources and other major development projects in or near indigenous territory constitute one of the most significant sources of abuse of their human rights.  Mr Anaya has called for a visit to Colombia by the UN’s Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide.
    Indigenous peoples in Colombia are courageously organizing to defend their right to survive. They have appealed for us to raise our voices with them. Their appeal is one we cannot fail to hear and heed: “The survival of Indigenous peoples with dignity in Colombia is in all of our hands.”
    Pressure from Canada would make a significant difference, particularly given the special relationship our government has with the Colombian government. The government of Stephen Harper launched a free trade agreement with Colombia, asserting it would give Canada more influence to press for human rights. We must insist that Canada is part of the solution, not the problem, . particularly as Canadian companies move in to Colombia to exploit natural resources there. We must show the deep concern of
    The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia sent us the following appeal for international support:  “When an Indigenous People disappears, a whole world is extinguished forever, along with its culture, spirituality, language, ancestral knowledge … The survival of Indigenous Peoples with dignity is in all of our hands.”

    Watch Slideshow

    This is what we want to tell you!is an online version of a powerful photo exhibit that has been displayed by Amnesty International in over 35 locations across Canada.

    << Please contact us if you would like to host this photo exhibit in your community: ncameron@amnesty.ca

     

    The Story Behind the Slideshow

    The slideshow and photo exhibit tell the urgent story of Indigenous peoples in Colombia who face being wiped out amidst ongoing armed conflict and the imposition of development projects on their resource-rich territories.

    Photographer Juan Pablo Gutíerrez visited some of the affected communities as part of a collaboration between Amnesty International Canada and the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia. They did, however, want to speak directly to Canadians, face to face, and to share with us their heartfelt, hand-written messages. These portraits are a testament to the courage and dignity of Indigenous people struggling to protect their very survival.The people in these photographs asked not to be named because of the danger involved.

    The images tell a story that compels us to act.
     

    The threat posed by armed conflict
    «I am a victim of paramilitaries and of the guerrilla.»
    - Message of a Wayúu woman

    A decades-long armed conflict in Colombia has had a profoundly destructive impact on Indigenous peoples. Community members have been attacked, raped and killed by all the combatants, including the army, so-called paramilitaries who often collude with the army, and their enemies, the guerrilla. In the last 10 years alone, threats and violence have driven more than 90,000 Indigenous people from the land on which their survival depends.
     

    Vulnerable people are forced to flee
    «Insurgent groups disappeared my relatives.»
    -Message of a Wayúu woman

    Two of this woman’s relatives were taken away by insurgents and forced to join them. She never saw them again. Amidst the ongoing armed conflict, Indigenous boys and girls remain at risk of forced recruitment by both insurgents and paramilitaries. In an effort to protect their children, many families have felt compelled to flee only to face other threats to their survival far from their land and livelihoods.

    Pressure from mining activity
    «No more exploitation of natural resources. Yes to life!»
    - Message of a Wayúu woman 

    Imposition of resource extraction projects in Indigenous territory has coincided with reports of contamination and health problems, as well as militarization and violence. When Indigenous communities protest or oppose such projects, they face death threats and killings. Violence or the threat of it has forced entire communities to flee their land and livelihoods.

    The very real risk of “extermination”
    «We reject the presence of armed groups in our reserve. We demand the right to life with dignity.»
    - Message of a Wayúu woman

    In 2009, the Constitutional Court of Colombia determined 34 Indigenous nations – including the Wayúu – to be in imminent danger of "extermination" due to the impact of armed conflict and forced displacement, with its multiple causes. The Court called the situation “an emergency which is as serious as it is invisible”. It ordered the government to take action to protect the rights and survival of these Peoples. Effective protection has yet to be implemented.
     

    Mega-projects bring violence
    «We want to live in peace on our land.»
    - Message of a Kankuamo woman 

    The Kankuamo have also identified by Colombia's highest court as being at risk of "extermination". Massacres, assassinations and other atrocities have decimated communities. Resource development megaprojects have been linked to the violence.

     

    Cultures struggling to survive
    «We want the return of our ancestral territory. No more international exploitation.»
    - Message of a Zenú man

    The right to traditional lands is crucial to the Zenú and all Indigenous peoples in Colombia. These lands are a vital element of their identity, livelihoods and ways of life, and essential for their survival. The Zenú have suffered grave human rights abuses as they have sought to defend their territory and rights. In 2009, the Constitutional Court gave the government 6 months to devise and implement a plan to protect the Zenú from being wiped out. More than three years on, the Zenú remain at risk.
     

    No consultation, no protection by Colombia’s government
    «As friends of the world, we want respect for our rights and not exploitation of our territory with mines.»
    - Message of a Zenú man

    This Zenú man testified: “In the struggle to defend our rights, many of our leaders were assassinated by security forces and paramilitaries. Now multinational companies arriving with government permission and taking over our land.” In Colombia Indigenous people who oppose resource extraction projects face threats and killings. Their right to make decisions about what happens on their lands is violated again and again. There are reasons why this emergency situation belongs squarely on Canada’s political agenda, including a free trade agreement and Canada's vigorous promotion of resource extraction projects on Colombian soil.
     

    Canadian business promoted, without safeguards for human rights
    «We do not want multinational companies in our territory.»
    - Message of a Wayúu woman

    In 2012, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights heard testimony about the impacts of large-scale mining on the Wayúu , including reports of environmental contamination, the loss of plants and food crops, and an increase in cancer. They also heard about the militarization that has come with mining development, the escalation of armed conflict, grave human rights abuses and forced displacement. “We fear the Wayúu will become extinct,” said Angélica Ortiz of Fuerza Mujeres Wayuu.
     

    It’s a question of dignity and survival
    «In our communities, we only see poverty and this is why we say no more multinational companies.»
    - Message of a Wayúu woman

    Discrimination against Indigenous peoples is widely entrenched in Colombia, resulting in high rates of poverty and exclusion. The UN’s independent expert on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, says extraction of natural resources and other major development projects in or near indigenous territory constitute one of the most significant sources of abuse of their human rights.  Mr Anaya has called for a visit to Colombia by the UN’s Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide.
     

    Indigenous peoples in Colombia are reaching out to Canadians
    “Respect our Indigenous rights.”
    - Message of a Zenú woman

    Indigenous peoples in Colombia are courageously organizing to defend their right to survive. They have appealed for us to raise our voices with them. Their appeal is one we cannot fail to hear and heed: “The survival of Indigenous peoples with dignity in Colombia is in all of our hands.”

    Canadians can be part of the solution
    «People of Canada, the Zenú need your support.»
    - Message of a Zenú man

    Pressure from Canada would make a significant difference, particularly given the special relationship our government has with the Colombian government. The government of Stephen Harper launched a free trade agreement with Colombia, asserting it would give Canada more influence to press for human rights. We must insist that Canada is part of the solution, not the problem, . particularly as Canadian companies move in to Colombia to exploit natural resources there. We must show the deep concern of Canadians for the survival of Indigenous peoples in Colombia.  We must demand effective action, without delay!

    Host the exhibit in your community

    "THIS IS WHAT WE WANT TO TELL YOU!” is a powerful exhibit that Amnesty International Canada continues to make available for display in communities across Canada. There are two formats: framed prints or easy-to-hang photo banners. They measure approximately 26 inches wide by 34 inches high. These large, beautiful images have moved, inspired and mobilized viewers wherever they have been displayed

    Working with several FNUC students we organized the Saskatchewan launch of the exhibit for September 13 - timed to mark the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007  …  the success of this project can be attributed to many factors – first of all the images tell a very powerful story about the human rights concerns of Indigenous Peoples in Colombia and there are some very helpful “speakers notes” and a power point presentation available to support the exhibit.    We were also very appreciative of the support provided by AI campaigners - Kathy Price and Craig Benjamin.”
    -Amnesty volunteer fieldworker Gord Barnes

    << Please contact us if you would like to host the photo exhibit in your community: ncameron@amnesty.ca. See our Resources page for more information about hosting the exhibit or sharing this compelling story in your classroom.

     

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