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Colombia: Several indigenous organizations threatened

    Friday, October 12, 2018 - 15:32

    One of the threatening pamphlets  Photo credit: www.onic.org.co 

    The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) reported that several threatening pamphlets against indigenous organizations defending human rights were found on the streets and railroad tracks of the municipality of Uribia in the department of La Guajira, north of Colombia.

    On 10 October, several threatening pamphlets against indigenous organizations that defend human rights were found on the streets and railroad tracks of the municipality of Uribia in the department of La Guajira, north of Colombia.

    The threatening pamphlets were directed against representatives of the following indigenous organizations of La Guajira: Wayuu Nation (Wayúu Nación), Wayúu Araurayu, Wayuu Women's Force Observatory (Observatorio Fuerza de Mujeres Wayúu) and ONIC. In its public statement, ONIC accused the paramilitary group Black Eagles (Águilas Negras in Spanish), of which the local armed group in the region is known as Bloque Capital, to have issued the pamphlets.

    The pamphlets literally stated that organizations defending human rights in the department of La Guajira "hinder the development of the country" and threatened that they will be attacked.
    This occurred a few days before the follow up hearing between the Constitutional Court and the Attorney General's Office due to evaluate Colombia’s government compliance with Ruling T-302 of 2017, which corroborated the mass and systematic violation of the fundamental rights of the Wayúu Indigenous People.

    These indigenous organizations have previously received several threats as they constantly denounce the lack of guarantees to the right to life, health, education, clean water, territory, land and a healthy environment in the region.

     

    Please send an email or letter to the Attorney General without delay. 

    • Start with Dear Attorney General and a sentence about yourself to make your appeal unique.
    • Ask him to conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation of the threats against these indigenous human rights organizations and bring all those found responsible to justice.
    • Urge him to fully and immediately implement the collective Prevention and Protection Plan for these indigenous organizations, considering the previous consultation about the measures.
    • Call on him to take immediate steps to overcome the structural causes behind the threats and attacks faced by human rights defenders in the context of their work in defence of human rights guarantees for Wayuu Indigenous People in La Guajira.

     

    Mail or email your message to

    Nestor Humberto Martinez
    Fiscal General de Colombia
    Diagonal 22B No. 52-01
    Bogotá D.C., Colombia

    Postage:    $2.50
    Email:     contacto@fiscalia.gov.co  or  denuncie@fiscalia.gov.co  
    or  despacho.fiscal@fiscalia.gov.co 

     

    Please send a copy to

    His Excellency Nicolás Lloreda Ricaurte 
    Ambassador for Colombia
    360 Albert Street, Suite 1002
    Ottawa, Ontario K1R 7X7

    Postage:    $.85
    Fax:         613 230 4416
    Phone:     613 230 3760
    E-mail:     ecanada@cancilleria.gov.co

    Ministry of Interior
    Nancy Patricia Gutiérrez
    Ministra del Interior
    Calle 12 B No. 8 – 46
    Bogotá D.C., Colombia
    Postage:    $2.50
    E-mail:    servicioalciudadano@mininterior.gov.co    

    The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    111 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
    Postage:    None required
    Fax:         613 996 9607    
    Phone:    613 992 5234
    E-mail:     chrystia.freeland@international.gc.ca

    Ombudsperson
    Defensoría del Pueblo
    Carlos Negret
    Carrera 9 Núm.16 – 21 
    Bogotá D.C., Colombia
    Postage:    $2.50
    Email:     asuntosdefensor@defensoria.gov.co 

     

    Additional information

    The department of La Guajira, located in northern Colombia, is characterized by having the largest desert area in the country and wealth of natural resources such as coal, gas, salt, as well as several wind energy farms. However, drinking water is scarce in the region, the infrastructure of public services is weak, and above all, children of the Wayúu Indigenous People that inhabit this territory lack food security.

    In 2016, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) reported that 4,770 children of the Wayúu Indigenous People died due to problems associated with malnutrition and lack of drinking water since 2008. Currently, the department of La Guajira has the highest number of infant mortality due to malnutrition in children under five years of age in Colombia. In 2017, the Constitutional Court issued an “Unconstitutional State of Affairs” (“Estado de Cosas Inconstitucional”, ECI), citing the massive and systematic violations of human rights of Wayúu Indigenous People in La Guajira, and the weak institutional response in terms of assistance. However, one year later, this situation does not appear to have changed. On the contrary, there has been little progress.

    The indigenous organizations Nación Wayúu, Wayúu Araurayu, Observatorio Fuerza de Mujeres Wayúu and the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) have been denouncing the lack of compliance from the local and departmental authorities to guarantee the rights of the Wayúu Indigenous People.

    They have also decried the constant threat that the presence of armed actors in their territories represents. Regarding measures for the collective protection of communities at risk, the needs seem to have overtaken the measures provided by the state to deal with the conflict. Currently, the protection mechanism in charge of the National Protection Unit faces several challenges because of the rise in the number of human rights defenders killed since 2016. In a report published in November 2017, Amnesty International reiterated the need to strengthen collective protection mechanisms and to guarantee the safety of human rights defenders, especially those working in rural areas and defending the land, territory and the environment, based on consultation with the communities at risk.

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    If you wish to receive updates on this case, email urgentaction@amnesty.ca. In the subject line, write “Keep me updated on Colombia UA 182”.
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