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Colombia: Urgent call for a cease to violence against Indigenous Peoples in the context of the National Strike

Responding to reports of violent attacks against the Indigenous Minga collective in Cali, which left several members of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) injured, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

“The attacks by armed civilians, some in the presence of the police, against the Indigenous Minga in Cali are a reflection of the ceaseless dynamics of violence in Colombia that have been accentuated during the social protests related to the National Strike. Since 28 April, there have been reports of dozens of people killed, hundreds injured and disappeared, acts of sexual torture and scenes of horror amidst the repression of mostly peaceful demonstrations, without Iván Duque’s government even publicly recognizing these human rights violations.”

“Historically, Indigenous and Afro-descendant people have suffered disproportionately from the consequences of violence, the armed conflict and the lack of state protection. It’s unacceptable that the authorities have not immediately heeded the urgent calls on them to prevent armed violence; on the contrary, several authorities, including the National Police have issued stigmatizing statements about the Indigenous Minga and those peacefully demonstrating in Cali.”

“Besides the excessive repression, there has also been constant stigmatization of those who demonstrate, which incites and justifies the violent response against them. The Indigenous Minga fears for the lives of its members, including those who are hospitalized. We call urgently on Iván Duque’s government to stop the repression and the stigmatization of protest, and to guarantee and protect all the human rights of the Indigenous and Afro-descendant people participating in the National Strike.”

According to a joint report by the NGO Temblores and Indepaz, 47 killings have been reported during the National Strike from 28 April to 9 May. Of these cases, 36 occurred in Valle del Cauca (35 in Cali and one in Yumbo). The joint report denounces that the security forces and authorities have not heeded citizens’ calls to prevent attacks by armed persons against demonstrators, the presence of plainclothes police officers among demonstrators, and the repression of peaceful demonstrations.

Read more:

Colombia: Concerning reports of disappearances and sexual violence against protesters (News, 7 May 2021)

Colombia: Amnesty International denounces militarized response and police repression of demonstrations (News, 4 May 2021)