Amnesty International (AI) claimed on Tuesday that indigenous leaders involved in ongoing protests throughout Colombia have received death threats with the intent of “social cleansing” from paramilitary groups.
AI released a report concurring with international human rights groups that the armed forces have also been using excessive force to control indigenous protesters across Colombia for the past week.
“Most of the evidence gathered by Amnesty International in several parts of Colombia points to a deeply worrying and largely disproportionate use of force against the indigenous protesters by the police and the armed forces,” stated the press release.
AI also said that the neo-paramilitary group Los Rastrojos had sent death threats to indigenous leaders calling for the “social cleansing” of indigenous peoples.
“The Colombian authorities must ensure that violence against the protesters is stopped and that death threats by paramilitary groups, as well as the allegations of excessive use of force, are promptly and thoroughly investigated. Those responsible must be brought to justice in civilian – not military – courts. Failure to do so could pave the way for more casualties as the protests continue,” AI asserted.
Over 120,000 of Colombia’s indigenous population took to the streets across Colombia on October 12 to demand that the “Colombian government treat the indigenous as a priority and not as a burden,” organizers told Colombia Reports.
Less than a week after these protests began, indigenous protesters condemned the police, saying that they were using excessive force, especially on Colombia’s Pacific coast.
AI reported that during one day of protests over 60 people were wounded in fights between ESMAD — Colombia’s riot police — and protesters. Those injured were allegedly prevented by ESMAD from receiving medical care for several hours.
Amnesty International is one of the leading NGOs in the world that aims to combat human rights violations.
- Colombia: Paramilitary group threatens indigenous protesters with ‘social cleansing’ (Amnesty International)