PBI-Colombia accompanies return of Indigenous Wounaan community to their territory after their displacement by the armed conflict

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On December 20, PBI-Colombia posted:

“We accompany @Justiciaypazcol [Justice and Peace] in the significant return of the Wounaan Community of Santa Rosa de Guayacán to its territory after two years of forced displacement. It is important to guarantee all security and protection measures so that the community can remain in #peace.”

Video clip: “At this moment the definitive return of the Santa Rosa de Guayacán community to its territory in Bajo Calima begins.”

Contagio Radio has previously explained:

“The Wounaan community of Santa Rosa de Guayacán, as a background that should bring shame to the Colombian State, has been displaced due to the armed conflict in 2004, 2010, 2017 and November 25, 2021. In this last displacement, the community experienced fear and anxiety due to the action of three actors: the ELN [National Liberation Army], the AGC [paramilitary] and the Colombian Army. They violated the principles of IHL [international humanitarian law] by entering the Humanitarian and Biodiverse Reservation where the community was preparing for their daily activities, work, study, fishing, harvesting, planting. The community was left exposed to any irreparable harm. This action by the three armed actors forced the displacement of the 29 families who were there.”

This past September, Contagio Radio had also reported:

“The First Civil Court of the Specialized Circuit for Land Restitution of Cali issued a ruling in favor of the Guayacán Santa Rosa Indigenous Reservation of the Wounaan Nonam indigenous people. There are 236 hectares of ancestral territory in the rural area of Buenaventura that the indigenous community is recovering. This ruling benefits 147 people from the reservation located in the rural area of Buenaventura, which is expected to bring back around 30 families who had been displaced by the armed conflict.”

PBI-Colombia has also previously explained:

“Since 2010, [Justice and Peace] has been advising and accompanying the Wounaan Nonam indigenous community of Santa Rosa de Guayacán (rural area of Buenaventura on the banks of the Calima River), following a paramilitary incursion in the region that forced the community to leave their home and move to the urban area of Buenaventura.

With the accompaniment of Justice and Peace, the community returned to its territory in August 2011 and declared it a Humanitarian and Biodiverse Reserve, thus prohibiting the entry of any armed actor. This territory is collective and is shared with Afro-descendant communities.

However, between 2014 and 2015, thousands of indigenous people were displaced from the region due to the constant presence of paramilitary and guerrilla groups in the area. In 2014, glyphosate fumigations on illegal coca crops in the region reached the bread crops and the inhabited area of the Humanitarian and Biodiverse Reservation of Santa Rosa de Guayacán, causing loss of crops, animals and health problems for the people of the community.”

In an update, PBI-Colombia noted:

“In November 2015, [the Indigenous community] returned to their lands that they declared a Humanitarian and Biodiverse Territory, hoping to remain there in peace. But they found a desolate village, empty houses and lost crops. Shortly after returning, the threats of neo-paramilitary groups were repeated and, due to the lack of security and guarantees to live in dignified conditions, part of the community returned again to Buenaventura, where it has not been able to escape the insecurity and violence that characterizes the city.”

We continue to follow this.

More photos of the community’s return to their territory.

PBI-Colombia has accompanied Justice and Peace since 1994.

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