Colombia’s constitutional court ruled Thursday that authorities must first consult with indigenous people before eradicating drug crops on native lands, Caracol Radio reported.
Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras called the ruling a “huge concern” to the government as it would complicate the government’s efforts to fight domestic drug growth.
Vargas Lleras cited a U.N. report that concluded drug cultivation on indigenous land was on the rise, noting “the most worring indicator is the increase of cultivated areas on indigenous lands by 21 percent.”
Indigenous reserve lands cover about 140,000 square miles and are home to more than 800,000 people. There are at least 567 indigenous reserve lands in Colombia which are represented by different political organizations, many of them through the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC).