[Fwd: Urgent Email Alert - Colombian indigenous people send an SOS from Cauca]

Darren Hill mail at vegburner.co.uk
Thu Dec 20 11:02:03 GMT 2007

The treatment of the Indigenous people of Colombia by successive 
governments has been complex and unfair. Recently announcements from OIA 
indicate that government’s future projects threaten the survival and 
livelihood of a significant proportion of the local indigenous people.

22 projects in South America using an Integrative Infrastructure are 
going to be developed in indigenous territories. More than 80 oil 
exploitations are on 30 indigenous territories. The canalization of Meta 
and Putumayo Rivers will adversely affect 37 Indigenous Nations. Oil 
palm plantations will affect five millions hectares of claimed land and 
5 dams will inundate ancestral lands. With the New Law of Rural 
Development (Law 1152 of 2007), the Colombian Government and the 
Congress have abolished the holding of legal title by the indigenous 
people of the Pacific region and other municipalities. Yet the 
Government have not intervened on the four million hectares that drug 
traffickers and big landowners (supported by paramilitaries) have 
illegally taken by violent means from the indigenous peoples, the 
Afro-Colombian and the peasant people. With other newly created Laws in 
Mines and Forestry, the Colombian Government is about to abolish 
indigenous rights to their lands that were recognized in national and 
international treaties (the 1991 Constitutional Reform and the169 
Agreement of the ILO (International Labour Organisation).

In 1991, the Colombian army killed 23 people at “El Nilo” Farm. In 1998, 
the Inter-American Court of Human Rights adjudged the Colombian 
government’s responsibility, and ruled that 10,000 hectares be handed 
back to the original indigenous people of Cauca. Nothing has been done 
to date to redeem this land. That is why the indigenous people have made 
a call to free Mother Earth during the last few weeks.

CRIC has sent an SOS informing how Colombian army and police forces have 
attacked the protest movement of indigenous peoples on the 
Caloto-Corinto Road at the Department of Cauca. Four people were 
seriously injured. “People had to retreat to avoid more injuries,” 
stated Feliciano Valencia, a commoner from CRIC.

Colombian government is using excessive force. During the last few 
weeks, military tanks have been sent to the communities; indigenous 
leaders have been detained in their homes without legal representation 
and commoners (men, women and children) have been attacked with tear gas 
sprayed directly in their faces. Helicopters have been flying over 
schools and indigenous cultural centres have been destroyed.”

“However ?according to regional leaders?, none of these actions will be 
enough to stop our legitimate claim to our lands. None of these actions 
will shut up our voices to denounce the Colombian Government’s lack of 
justice to give us back territories that have been taken by big 
landowners some of whom are relatives of current Cauca governor, Juan 
José Chaux.
“Our brothers and sisters will continue to fight to recover the land 
that was forcefully taken from us.”

According to OIA press release, “In November 25, 2007, Cauca’s governor, 
supported by President Uribe’s Security Council, accused the indigenous 
protest as an act of delinquency, dismissing legitimate right to protest 
and claim land that rightfully and historically belonged to the 
indigenous people. He also intended to associate the indigenous protest 
to the guerrilla movement FARC-EP, calling terrorists our brothers and 
sisters, trying to de-legitimate the social movement”. “We are not land 
thieves; you can not steal what is yours”, OIA added.

ACIN also reports that “the community feels annoyed and sad because of 
this tragedy produced by the repressive action of Government. However, 
we will keep resisting until the government arrives at a decision that 
benefits indigenous people and Mother Earth - not multinationals. We 
will maintain the rituals to free Mother Earth. Our goal is to defend 
and maintain our freedom to use our lands for our benefit and to support 
other indigenous people’s fight as well.”

The Eastern Cauca Territorial Council of Indigenous Authorities 
(COTAINDOC) rejects Colombian Government’s response and demands that 
serious attention be given to legal agreements previously signed with 
the Cauca indigenous people.

Jointly with other indigenous organizations, “we plead the national and 
international society, the Human Right organizations and other social 
organizations to be alert and ready to attend any situation that can 
occur to the eastern Cauca indigenous people in their legitimate claim 
for their lands. We make responsible the departmental and central 
government for the consequences of the violence used against our people.”

The Indigenous Parliament is peacefully functioning in the Territory of 
Dialogue, Convergence and Negotiation “La María” at Piendamó County, 
since November 22, 2007. We do not accept any violent response from the 
government and we plead the national and international solidarity.

You can read the public proclamation from CRIC Major Council, November 
13, 2007 in


More information: http://www.nasaacin.net

If you want to support our protest, expressing your concern to Colombian 
authorities, please fill the form below and your letter will be send 
immediately to the following addresses:

Colombian President
S.E. Álvaro Uribe Vélez
Carrera 8 # 7-26, Palacio de Nariño
Santa Fe de Bogotá
Fax: +57.1.566.20.71
E-mail: auribe at presidencia.gov.co

Colombian Vice-president
Sr. Francisco Santos
Tels.: +571334.45.07, +573.7720130
E-mail: fsantos at presidencia.gov.co ; buzon1 at presidencia.gov.co

Director of the President Program for Human Rights
Dr. Carlos Franco
E-mail: cefranco at presidencia.gov.co

Director of the Vice-president Program for Human Rights
Email: ppdh at presidencia.gov.co

Observatory for Human Rights from the Vice-president office
Email: obserdh at presidencia.gov.co

Dr. Volmar Antonio Pérez Ortiz
Calle 55 # 10-32, Bogotá.
Fax: + 57.1.640.04.91
E-mail: secretaria_privada at hotmail.com; agenda at agenda.gov.co

National Prosecutor
Doctor Mario Hernán Iguarán Arana
Diagonal 22-B # 52-01, Bogotá
Fax: +57.1.570.20.00; +57.1.414.90.00 (Extensión 1113)
E-mail: contacto at fiscalia.gov.co; denuncie at fiscalia.gov.co

Colombian permanent mission in United Nations
Chemin du Champ d’Anier, 17-19, 1209 Ginebra, Suiza.
FAX: + 41.22.791.07.87
TEL.:+ 41.22.798.45.55.
E-mail: mission.colombia at ties.itu.int

Juridical Office from Cauca Department
Doctor Norbey Ivan Ortiz lara
juridica at gobcauca.gov.co

Government Secretary of Cauca Department
Doctor Carlos Horacio Gómez
gobierno at gobcauca.gov.co


Please take part in an urgent email alert to call on the Colombian 
authorities to protect the rights of indigenous peoples.  Some 10,000 
indigenous people in Cauca state have recently begung a civil protest 
to recover their land, which another 90,000 are waiting to support.  
They have formed an Indigenous and Popular Parliament which includes 
delegates from other Colombian social organizations.  The Colombian 
authorities have responded with violence and prosecution.

Land is being taken away from indigenous communities in Colombia for 
palm oil (which is being expanded rapidly for biofuels), for oil 
drilling and for mining.

To take part in the action, please go to



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