RAMALC statement on the current state of violence in Cauca, Colombia
In the year thus far, the growing military presence in the south-western territories of Cauca, Colombia, has put various communities, which make up the ancestral lands in which they inhabit, at great risk. The reports lodged by the CRIS- the Regional Indigenous Board of Cauca- have been many, and these complaints have been ignored and unaddressed by the Colombian government. This has meant that the leaders and communities that protect these lands have been facing this situation with no avenues of defense.
In light of this difficult humanitarian situation, we of the Latin-American and Caribbean Antimilitarist Network state as thus:
- We pledge full support to the CRIC- the Regional Indigenous Board of Cauca- as well as to other indigenous leaders at a local and national level, in their quest towards the harmonization and demilitarization of their respective territories, especially territories in which activities such as extractivism, drug trafficking, war, and any militarization project may be forced upon them. The work of these people and their ancestral leaders directly impacts and protects their common goods and the environment.
- We recognize the Indigenous Guard as the authority on the protection and defense of their common good and their communities, with respect for the land, and we value their work as a body of peace, unarmed, that fosters and protects the lives of the people and their communities.
- We condemn the acts of war committed against the Nasa people and the other ancestral peoples that inhabit the Cauca department. As of this year, 14 individuals from the Nasa people of Northern Cauca have been assassinated. We likewise condemn the threats, intimidation, persecution and harassment that these communities, who only ask for peace, have been subjected to.
- We condemn the assassination, committed on October 29th, of 5 indigenous communal members of the Tacueyó Reservation (of Toribio, north of Cauca), which included a traditional leader and four members of the indigenous guard, as well as 5 indigenous guards being seriously wounded.
- We are deeply saddened by the massacre of Authority Neehwesx Cristina Bautista and the Asdruval Cayapu guards, Eliodoro Finscue, José Gerardo Soto and James Wilfredo Soto, as well as the injuries sustained by Authority Neehwe'sx Crescencio Peteche and the guards José Norman Montano, Matías Montano, Dora Rut Mesa and Rogelio Taquinas. We reach out in solidarity with Nasa people and express our support of the measures taken to defend their ways of life within these territories.
- We condemn the Colombian government's negligent behavior, which has not tended to the situation, despite having been notified through many means and mechanisms of the region's difficult security situation, and we believe that the government's neglectful attitude aggravates these communities' humanitarian crises.
- We defend the struggle for peace and recognize the day-to-day efforts made by the various ancestral communities within the Cauca region, and we strongly urge the state authorities to immediately attend to the humanitarian crisis that the population is being subjected to in the area.
RAMALC, 30th October 2019