In Colombia, most killings of human rights defenders are taking place in rural areas where the FARC-EP was historically present. Indigenous Peoples are among the most affected. There is a persistent stigma of associating Indigenous Peoples with guerillas. Since the signing of the peace agreements with the FARC-EP in 2016, some 50 indigenous leaders have been killed. Furthermore, the continued presence of the ELN and the increasing threats and attacks from former paramilitary groups aggravates the situation. The Human Rights Ombudsman continues to raise early warning alerts over attacks and threats against Indigenous Peoples in various regions, and the Constitutional Court has alerted that a number of Indigenous Peoples in the country are at risk of extinction. The Special Rapporteur has sent several communications on the killings of indigenous leaders by armed groups, arbitrary detention, prosecutions, and the excessive use of force by government forces against indigenous protesters.
TESTIMONY FROM THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR’S
CRIMINALIZATION SUMMIT IN GENEVA IN MARCH 2018
ONIC (Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia)
Aida Marina Vivas
7:20: “I'll give you a very important example of one thing that happens very often in Colombia, and—I’m sure—in many other countries as well. This is the case of Feliciano Valencia, who was prosecuted because the local authorities judged an intelligence agent working undercover in a mine. I served as counselor for nine years during that time. So, they charged him for torture, kidnapping…, for many things, and he had to serve three months in the INPEC and after this, he was transferred to the Centro de Armonizacion. These are things that people don’t really think about. Our own justice system, just as the ordinary justice system, have judges recognized by the Constitution of Colombia. But, in Colombia, these justice systems persecute each other. The ordinary justice system includes everything, and judges the actions of natural judges."
12:14: “For example, there are some community landholders that live, for instance, near the pacific coast, near the ocean. When these people are under threat, they are first given what is called a “panic button.” When someone feels threatened, they are supposed to push this button. But this button won’t work in the pacific coast because that’s only for the city. So, these types of solutions don’t actually work. Or, they’ll give you a bulletproof vest. For a poor indigenous brother that, according to his culture, to his practices or knowledge…I have a bulletproof vest, but I almost never use it. Why? Because it’s not in my way of thinking to wear one. So, in Colombia, not a lot has been done about this. Currently we’re in the same process of mobilization that we were in last year.”