Some 23 indigenous tribes from south eastern Colombia are at risk of extinction as a result of the ongoing armed conflict ravaging the region, explained the President of the Human Rights and Displacement Consul (CODHES) on Wednesday.
In the south eastern region “over 60% of the population is indigenous, belonging to around 56 tribes, over 20 of which are facing extinction as a consequence of war,” the President of CODHES, Jorge Rojas explained to news agency EFE.
A CODHES report called tribes ‘in danger of extinction’ those with less than 500 members and attribute the current situation to the ceaseless confrontations between the Colombian Armed Forces and the FARC guerrillas.
Rojas added that both the FARC and the army frequently disrespect civilians and the FARC are consistently raiding indigenous settlements and forcibly removing children to serve in their rebel factions.
This conflict provokes the forced displacement of people which in certain locations has reached 64%, such as the settlement of Guayabero where 718 inhabitants out of 1,118 have been driven to flee.
According to Rojas, displacement causes the complete disruption of the indigenous cultural environment as well as the breakdown of their identity and cultural imagination.
Colombia’s south eastern idigenous population has been suffering from the impact of the mining industry which has taken over much of their ancient territory, put them in danger and obliged them to relocate.
Both the National Indigenous Oranization of Colombia and CODHES claim that there is no conscience nor will from the government to draw attention to what is happening to indigenous people throughout the country and there is great futility on the part of the State in protecting these peoples in the midst of such brutal and interminable conflict.