2022 was the most violent year against indigenous peoples since the signing of the Peace Agreement

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The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) indicated that there were 453,018 victims and called for the inclusion of a comprehensive policy for these populations in the National Plan for Development (2022-2026)

2022 was the most violent year against indigenous peoples since the signing of the Peace Agreement

2022 was the year most violent against indigenous peoples since the signing of the Peace Agreement. (Unfpa Colombia, Freddy Cabarcas)

Six years have passed since the Final Peace Agreement was signedwith the extinct FARC and indigenous communities continue to be the object of violence committed by different armed actors. The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) published its annual report in which it evidenced the escalation of the conflict in ancestral territories, especially during 2022.

2022 was the most violent year against indigenous peoples since the signing of the Peace Agreement

The United States condemns attacks in Colombia against indigenous people, ex-combatants and the public forceThe ambassador of that country at the UN made some warnings to the Government of Gustavo Petro

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The entity would have liked to “evidence in this report the reduction or cessation of actions of armed violence in ancestral territories by 2022”; However, it was not. The situations he recorded reveal a humanitarian crisis for indigenous peoples due to control of the territory, income derived from drug trafficking, and the extraction of natural resources.

The Observatory of Human Rights of the ONIC pointed out that last year “corresponds to the most violent year for indigenous peoples in Colombia” since the Final Peace Agreement was signed in 2016. In total, there were 453,018 victims during 2022, with confinement, forced displacement and harassment being the actions that exacerbated the violation of the population's human rights.

2022 was It was the most violent year against indigenous peoples since the signing of the Peace Agreement

The ELN chief referred to the crisis at the negotiating table and assured that the guerrillas are willing to find solutions. The armed group and the national government will meet on January 18 in Caracas together with the guarantor countries to finalize an agreement regarding the possibility of of a bilateral cessation

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The greatest affectation was the forced confinementwith 433,580 victims, which worsened in the second quarter of 2022 and was concentrated in Antioquia, Chocó, Córdoba and Sucre. On the other hand, there were 8,183 indigenous people who wereforcibly displaced, especially in Córdoba, Nariño and Vichada. “In addition to this, the effects of harassment focused on Nariño and Norte de Santander, which reached a total of 7,711 victims,” ​​added the organization.

The report detailed that there were 3,544 victims who suffered other types of violence, such as: threats, state abandonment, affectation of the territory, homicide, forced recruitment, sexual abuse, suicide, extortion, omission of the State due to malnutrition and health, disappearance, kidnapping, among others.

2022 was the most violent year against indigenous peoples since the signing of the Peace Agreement

Indigenous victims after the signing of the Final Peace Agreement. (ONIC)

Although the increase is significant, the Human Rights Observatory highlighted that “there is a high underreporting due to the multiple difficulties experienced by the traditional authorities.” Those barriers that limit the exercise of reporting have to do with the absence of security guarantees, low or no connectivity and difficult access to the most remote territories.

2022 was the most violent year against indigenous peoples since the signing of the Peace Agreement

Bayron Leandro Espitia is sentenced for the murder of the peace signatory Carlos SiavatoSince the signing of the Final Peace Agreement, 348 reincorporated persons have been assassinated. In 2022, there were 43 cases of homicides of ex-combatants

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“Indigenous peoples continue to resist the imminent risk of physical and cultural extermination, due to the humanitarian crisis they have been facing for some time,” highlighted the ONIC. The damages also include damage to physical and emotional health that end up “eliminating the cultural and historical legacy of the native peoples”.

According to the report, “50 towns were subjected to violations of their human rights.” The town zenú was the most affected with 238,010 victims mainly due to confinement, followed by 148,703 indigenous embera who were displaced or experienced restrictions on their mobility, and 12,465 people from the awá community who faced the massive displacement and harassment. Added to this are 53,840 victims who belong to other indigenous peoples.

ONIC recommendations

The Ministry of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights and Peace made an urgent call for the National Development Plan (2022-2026) to influence the “construction of a comprehensive public policy for the indigenous population of borders”. This would imply that the communities have access to their fundamental rights such as health and education together with the “ideal mechanism for granting binationality”.

On the other hand, the organization recognized that the figures for 2022 leave “a tasteless because total peace seems to be slipping from our hands”, a proposal to which the government of Gustavo Petro has bet. Although the ONIC welcomes this initiative, it considered it important to remember the importance of the effective implementation of the Final Peace Agreement, “especially in its Ethnic Chapter”.

This is the ONIC full report:

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