PBI-Colombia accompanies meeting on displacement of Indigenous Wounaan community members

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On July 23, Contagio Radio reported (in Spanish), “50 days have elapsed since 417 [Indigenous Wounaan] people were displaced from the Pichimá Quebrada indigenous reserve in Litoral del San Juan (South Chocó). This second displacement suffered by the Wounaan was the result of clashes between armed groups in the area…”

That article then notes, “From that moment, people have settled in the municipal head of Santa Genoveva de Docordó in two shelters provided by the City Hall and one by the Community House that do not have the necessary conditions to be inhabited.”

On July 24, the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project tweeted (in Spanish), “Wounaam leaders of the Pichima Reserve [in] Litoral San Juan Chocó, who live in displacement since June 3 due to clashes between illegal actors in their territory, meet with @UEenColombia [the Delegation of the European Union to Colombia] to request support for a return with security guarantees.”

The Delegation of the European Union to Colombia also tweeted (in Spanish), “Today we meet with Wounaan indigenous leaders of the Pichima Reserve in Chocó in displacement since 3/06 due to clashes between illegal armed groups in their territory. Now in a precarious situation in Docordó in search of guarantees to be able to return.”

And PBI-Colombia also tweeted (in Spanish), “Thank you very much to [the Delegation of the European Union to Colombia] for receiving us and listening to [the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission] and the Wounaan leaders of the Pichima Reserve, Litoral San Juan Chocó and for supporting the communities affected by the armed conflict.”

As noted in this PBI-Colombia backgrounder, the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission accompanies several Wounaan communities.

El Espectador recently published this commentary (in Spanish) by Armando Valbuena who wrote, “According to the Observatory of Human Rights of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, from November 2016 to June 2019, 1,029 leaders of the indigenous peoples have been threatened, 330 have been killed and 166 have suffered attacks by armed actors such as the Black Eagles, dissidents of the FARC and the ELN.”

Valbuena highlights that, “More than 22,532 indigenous people have suffered forced displacements, 12,066 have been violated their rights due to lack of attention and guarantees by the State, 116 indigenous people have been forcibly recruited, 16 were kidnapped and 11 indigenous were tortured.”

And Valbuena concludes his piece with, “The current situation comes from the folly to exploit the land and the use of violence as a framework that allows it. It is about implementing extractive, legal or illegal projects that bleed our lives and impose bad death. However, even though the horizon is dark, we are in minga [mass Indigenous mobilizations]; cane in hand and with a calm look, we will continue fighting for the Unity, the Territory, the Culture and the Autonomy of the Indigenous Peoples of Colombia.”

The department of Chocó in western Colombia includes six Indigenous communities and twelve collective Afro-Colombian territories. The struggle for peace with justice, for land rights and respect for Indigenous and Afro-Colombian rights, continues in Colombia.


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