Indigenous leaders announced they plan to form their own police force.
They said Colombia’s 1.3 million indigenous people are often caught in
the crossfire between armed groups and
they need to be protected.
Luis Fernando Arias, leader of the Colombian Indigenous Organization (CIO), told W Radio that “in recent years the situation has started to head to towards extermination, to genocide, because the war in Colombia is encroaching on our territories”.
Arias said that in the last seven years 1,300 indigenous Colombians have been murdered.
“This equates to an indigenous person being murdered every 72 hours in Colombia,” he said.
He said that the indigenous are caught in the crossfire between these groups and as a result have decided to form a “national indigenous police force” comprised of 100,000 officers to defend indigenous citizens.
The indigenous leader said that the United Nations had expressed concern over the situation of Colombian’s indigenous people.
In fact the impact of violence on Colombia’s indigenous people has long been the concern of Human rights organizations.
Amnesty International released a report last week condemning human rights abuses in the country.
Indigenous organization Cumbre Continental Indígena has proposed the demilitarization of indigenous territories as a way to remove indigeous Colombians from the ongoing conflict in the country.
Indigenous populations are concentrated in south-eastern Colombia, in the Amazon (south) and in the northern Sierra
Nevada de Santa Marta, all of which have high levels of armed conflict.
Colombia’s 1.3 million indigenous people make up 3.4 percent of it’s population of 44 million.