The Colombia branch of the United Nations Human Rights Council has condemned recent attacks by alleged ELN guerrillas against indigenous leaders.
Two indigenous leaders in the Colombian state of Choco were both kidnapped and murdered over the weekend. These attacks came just before the initiative “Baudoseando”, in order to provide support to indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities in Baudo to address the issue of armed conflict and human rights in the region.
“The Office received with deep concern the news of the murders of two indigenous leaders, Mr. Ernelio Pacheco , President of the Indigenous Organization of Choco and Becheche Miguel Zarco, President of the Association of Indigenous Councils of Alto Baudo.”
The international body said that these killings are a clear violation of the international law of human rights, as well as international humanitarian law and therefore urged the guerrillas to respect the lives of civilians.
The ELN is also suspected of having used snipers to shoot and kill two workers for an Ecopetrol subsidiary in Norte de Santander. The UN also condemned those killings.
The UN has called on the guerrilla group, which is bound by international standards to respect the lives of civilians, not to perpetrate killings and attacks against those not directly involved in hostilities, and to respect the life, integrity and the territory of indigenous peoples.
The UN reminded the ELN that one of the first steps to demonstrate interest in peace should be to stop the killings and attacks against civilians.
The 50-year-old guerrilla group and the government announced the beginning of peace talks in June, five days before elections in which President Juan Manuel Santos was elected. Since then, no talks have begun.