Amnesty International’s criticism of the Colombian government’s failure to protect indigenous citizens ignores the work the Uribe administration has done to guarantee indigenous rights, Interior and Justice Minister Fabio Valencia Cossio said Tuesday.
Valencia Cossio objected that the AI report does not take into account that some indigenous communities are displaced because they are cultivating illegal coca crops.
The minister also stated that while AI’s report highlights threats against indigenous leaders, it “does not mention how the government has guaranteed the personal safety of 300 leaders of indigenous organizations”.
The AI report released on Monday says that Colombia’s indigenous populations are at risk of disappearing altogether, due to the rise in attacks against them.
AI blames all armed parties in Colombia, including guerillas, paramilitaries and the Colombian armed forces, for these injustices, and calls on the government to assume its obligations to protect indigenous communities, investigate crimes against them, and punish those responsible.
Valencia Cossio is overseeing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s duties while he is attending a summit, and having violently worded disagreements with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in Mexico.