Crisis increases due to Human Rights Violations in the Indigenous Minga

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Source: Contagio Radio / The Dawn News / November 3, 2017


The indigenous communities continue in their fifth day of national mobilization. In Caldas and Valle del Cauca they have done an evaluation of the human rights situation as a result of the confrontations that there have been with the Public Forces. In the concentration point of Delfina, there is an injured protester and in Caldas, Elvia Azucena Vargas was assassinated; as of November 4, there were at least 36 indigenous people injured in the mobilizations.


The indigenous authorities indicated that in Cauca, Valle del Cauca and Caldas, “the public force has countered the mobilization with warlike actions against thousands of minga participants that in unity are fighting for the rights of the people to be respected and the fulfilling of the agreements.”


They manifested that 16 members of the Public Force that were being retained by the Indigenous Guard, “were already released to the mayors of Pueblo Rico, Marsella, Carmen del Atrato and Quibdó, to the Ombudsman of the people of Chocó and Risaralda, Legal representation of Pueblo Rico, the Attorney General of Risaralda and the Catholic Church, with accompaniment by MAPP/OAS.”


In Delfina they denounce that there are three indigenous people who were disappeared


In agreement with Gustavo Parra, member of the indigenous organization ACIVA, the attacks by the Public Force caused one indigenous person to be injured and three disappeared. He manifested that there is still no clarity about what kind of weapon the Public Force used, but “one of the impacts injured someone in the head and they had to be attended with urgency”. (Related article about use of force in Caldas)


In the same way, he manifested that the confrontations have extended for hours and they have communicated to public opinion about the serious situation that they are living as a product of the shots. According to Parra, “The Colonel of the Army has denied all of the events, but we have pictures and proof of the cartridges of the guns that they have used to shoot at us.”


In Caldas an indigenous woman was assassinated


According to Martha Hernández, councilwoman from the Regional Indigenous Council of Caldas, informed that on November 2, Elvia Azucena Vargas was assassinated in the Portachuelo community of the reservation Caño Momo Loma Piedra, two hours from the Minga concentration point. She indicated that there events were confusing and are still object of investigation.


With respect to the mobilization, she manifested that there are still communities where there is constant presence of the Mobile Anti-Disturbances Esquadron -ESMAD-. They have considered this to be an intimidation “that is against the law because they are attacking the norm that establishes the consultation with indigenous authorities in order to enter the territories.” (Related article about people injured in Delfina after ESMAD attacks)


She also said that the uniformed offices “are in some in the mills and houses that are abandoned, last Wednesday they shot tear gas from there and the people had to retreat to their houses.


With regards to the number of injured indigenous people, Hernández assured that they had a list of 4 people injured by confrontations with the ESMAD. He emphasized that the public force was shooting directly at the faces of people which makes it a very worrying situation. The medical mission, that is present 24 hours, has attended people whom have not had to go to medical centers. (Related article Indigenous people denounce use of firearms by ESMAD).


Finally, Hernández clarified that they have not burnt cars or motorcycles in the context of the protest. He indicated that the indigenous mobilization continues to wait for the national authorities to start the negotiation roundtable. Additionally the ONIC indicated that in Caldas “there is anxiety in response to the pronouncement of the Police Colonel of Caldas who said that, if any indigenous person goes to the highway, they will be incarcerated and put in the disposition of the District Attorney.”


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