Indigenous groups marched through the streets in western Colombia on Tuesday to protest escalating violence in their territories, and to urge the continuation of peace talks between the Colombian government and rebel group FARC.
The Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC) led a 5,000 person march through the state capital on Tuesday to denounce human rights violations in their territories, where in recent weeks three indigenous residents have been murdered and 26 threatened, according to a spokesperson for the Council
According to CRIC advisor Rubiel Olinto, the indigenous community is very concerned over the suspension of peace talks, and wishes the government to resume negotiations as soon as possible.
In addition, they demand reparations for the victims of recent murders by FARC, as well as for the 26 indigenous leaders whose lives were threatened in a flyer apparently circulated by the guerrillas.
One of Colombia’s most politically organized indigenous groups, the Nasa, has long called for the army, paramilitaries and guerrillas withdraw from their territory, saying that they do not support the politics of any of the armed groups.
In particular, the Nasa openly rejected a recent military operation that was organizing activities for children within their indigenous reserve earlier this month, concerned that the presence of armed forces further endangers an already vulnerable population.
- Interview with Rubiel Olinto, advisor to the Cauca Regional Indeginous Council