Nearly 1,650 members of the Siapidara clan of the Embera indigenous group, displaced from their native lands by armed conflict in 2008, plan to return home.
The group took the decision to return to their land without knowing what the current situation in the area is like, reports El Tiempo.
“Colombia doesn’t know that we exist, even though as of September 17, 2008, we had to leave our houses, our few belongings and our animals,” said Embra member Gabriela Pertiaga.
In August, the Siapidara clan was listed by the United Nations among the Colombian indigenous groups needing “special attention,” noting that they were victims of forced displacement due to violence and recruitment of indigenous into armed groups.
According to the U.N. Colombia has 3 million internally displaced people, who have been forced from their homes by violence in the country’s armed conflict. Indigenous people are disproportionately affected, making up 6.5% of the displaced, according to official estimates, while they only constitute 3.2% of the population.
More than 100 indigenous people have been assassinated so far in 2010, according to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia.