The situation of indigenous tribes in Colombia is critical considering
the rising number of assassinations of the community’s members, the
United Nations said Thursday.
“In the first half of 2009, compared to 2008, murders of indigenous by armed groups doubled,” the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights in Colombia told local media. Two thirds of the homicides against vulnerable groups were carried out against indigenous.
According to national indigenous organization ONIC, 63 of Colombia’s 1.3 million indigenous have been assassinated so far this year. 43 were killed alone in the Cauca department with the largest concentration of indigenous in the country.
The FARC “would be the main responsible for those crimes and others such as the use of anti-personnel landmines and child recruitment,” the UN said.
The UN office in Colombia said it also received information that security forces used indigenous for intelligence work which puts the communities at “risk of retaliation” by illegal armed groups.
Furthermore, the indigenous tribes are facing precarious situations in health care and nutrition and have difficult access to education. “This hurts especially the women and children”, the UN said.
The United Nations called on all armed groups involved in Colombia’s violent conflict to respect the rights of the indigenous. In addition, the national government has to guarantee the rights of the indigenous while increasing programs of maternal and child care, health, education and nutrition for all indigenous in the country.