The UN on Thursday called for the Colombian government to improve protection measures for the indigenous population following a sharp increase in violence against the minority groups in 2009.
The UN Human Rights Office in Colombia released statistics on Thursday showing that 94 indigenous Colombians were murdered between January and October 2009: a 64% increase from the first 10 months of 2008.
The Colombian representative for the Human Rights High Commission, Christian Salazar, declared that in “2009 we have observed a worrying increase in murders of indigenous people,” reported news station Radio Santa Fe.
“[These figures] thus demand that the Colombian State urgently double their efforts to implement safety plans as a mechanism to protect the country’s ethnic minorities,” stressed Salazar.
The UN statement also called on the Colombian government to obey the order of the Constitutional Court – which oversees compliance with the Constitution – in order to “develop the construction of ethnic safety plans for the protection of 34 indigenous peoples,” which “requires … dialogue with indigenous peoples.”
Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities are subject to increasing persecution by protagonists in Colombia’s ongoing armed conflict.”In particular, the Awa people (who live in the southern Colombia) have suffered alarming levels of massacres, threats, displacement and confinement this year,” the UN report asserted.
In August, twelve members of the Awa were murdered by unknown assailants, and in September a further five were killed. Those responsible have yet to be brought to justice.