Government failures to provide aid ahead of the coronavirus pandemic is “exacerbating hunger and the risk of extermination” of Colombia’s ethnic minorities, a court agreed.
According to the Cundinamarca Superior Tribunal, the government of President Ivan Duque surrendered no more than 36% of the aid it had promised ahead of the emergency and left more than 80% of indigenous and Afrocolombian communities without any medical supplies.
The court ordered the government to immediately surrender the promised food and medical supplies, granting the Inspector General’s Office right to intervene.
It is unacceptable that in the midst of a health emergency that threatens and compromises life, that tools, procedures and conventional and rigid requirements are used that do not appreciate the serious and exceptional situation at hand and that have, to date, made it impossible to deliver this aid, exacerbating hunger and the risk of extermination of ethnic peoples.
Inspector General’s Office
The Inspector General’s Office urged a court intervention after finding that the indigenous peoples and Afrocolombian communities have been complying with a stay at home order, but had largely been ignored by the government.
The court confirmed Interior Minister Alicia Arango and ordered her to live up to her promises to provide support to the country’s ethnic minorities.
It is clear that there is a deficiency and an imminent delay in the delivery of emergency humanitarian aid from the program created by the Ministry of the Interior… This situation is alarming because, although the strategy “Colombia is with you: One million families” aims to reach one million families, the provided data and statistics demonstrate that reality is different.
Cundinamarca Superior Tribunal
“It is not possible that since the last update date of the communities from 31 March 2020, such a high number are still undelivered, especially if these ethnic communities are subject to special constitutional protection,” according to the court.
The court ruling establishing the government’s gross neglect comes a day after health workers accused Health Minister Fernando Ruiz of failing to provide basic equipment to health personnel.
Since taking office in 2018, Duque has become notorious for making promises that were either broken or only partially delivered on.