The United Nations in Colombia has condemned the recent killing of two indigenous men by FARC guerrillas, demanding the rebels respect indigenous’ rights.
Indigenous guards of an indigenous reservation in the southwestern Cauca state were killed earlier this week, reportedly after a discussion with a group of guerrilla fighters over propaganda posters commemorating the death of “Alfonso Cano,” one of FARC’s late leaders.
The UN has expressed its concern over the incident and its implication for the ongoing violation of human rights in the conflict in Colombia.
“All parties of the conflict should respect the collective rights of the indigenous peoples,” said Fabrizio Hoschild, resident humanitarian coordinator with the United Nations in Colombia, in a press release.
The killings represent the violation of the rights to life, personal safety, and self-governance on the part of the indigenous community.
Violations of these rights would go against the principles of protecting civilians set out by the Fourth Geneva Convention related to war crimes. The FARC have explicitly recognized the first three Geneva conventions, but have so far failed to recognize the fourth that deals with war crimes against civilians.
The FARC began peace talks with the government in 2012 but has continued to commit violent acts as the rebels and the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos failed to reach agreement on a ceasefire for the duration of the talks.
Last month, the FARC said it is not responsible for violations of international humanitarian law.
Todd Howland, the United Nations’ human rights coordinator in Colombia, urged the FARC and the government to stop denying their responsibility for victimization.
“It is necessary to recognize the responsibility of these crimes and how human rights have been violated during the conflict,” Howland said.
Colombia’s indigenous and Afro-Colombian minorities have been among the hardest hit by the conflict, particularly over the past ten years.
As Colombia’s military successfully was able to push away the guerrillas from the country’s cities and economically important areas between 2002 and 2008, groups like the FARC and ELN were pushed into the jungles where mostly Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities live.
- Naciones Unidas urge a las FARC-EP a respetar pueblos indigenas en Colombia (United Nations Organization)