Nearly 40 members of the hunter and gatherer Nukak indigenous group have been forcibly displaced in the central southeastern state of Guaviare by armed groups, said the Colombia Ombudsman on Sunday.
The Nukak indigenous group has reportedly lost 50% of its population since being discovered 25 years ago said W Radio. The Nukak are reportedly one of the 32 native Colombian indigenous groups at ” imminent risk of extinction.”
The Nukak people are native to the dense jungles of the central southeastern state of Gauviare and live a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle. They speak their own language, unknown prior to their discovery.
Conflicts have increased over the last 25 years of contact with Colombian settlers who are moving further and further into the jungle, informed the ombudsman. The Nukak have been accused of stealing food and livestock from sedentary farmers in this region. The indigenous group conversely has seen violations of their territorial rights and faced discrimination, added the ombudsman.
Colombia’s ongoing armed conflict has caused additional problems for the Nukak, first with the arrival of paramilitaries during the 1990s and now with FARC – Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – active in the area. It is not clear which armed group forced these 37 members of the Nukak to leave their territory.
The ombudsman outlined steps to rectify the situation saying it is the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior to “reduce tensions and risks that bring neighborhood problems between settlers and the Nukak.” The ombudsman added that an “Emergency Response Plan” must be implemented in order to safeguard the 34 Nukak families that have already been displaced.
The Guaviare state of Colombia has one of the highest rates of displacement in all of Colombia. The FARC, the oldest and largest rebel group in Colombia, and other armed groups use the area to grow coca, the base ingredient in the production of cocaine.
- Desplazamiento forzado de indígenas Nükak en Guaviare (Defensoria del Pueblo)
- Defensoría del Pueblo denunció desplazamiento de 37 indígenas Nukak (W Radio)