Despite an advanced legal recognition, in practice the rights of indigenous peoples are being violated on a daily basis in Colombia, since they are victims of the effects of the internal armed conflict, systematic institutional discrimination, and the pressure of transnational corporations seeking to exploit the natural resources in their territories.
• At least 122 indigenous people were killed during 2010, representing an increase in comparison with 2009 (114 killings) and 2008 (102). Most of these crimes remain unpunished.
• Official statistics from the Colombian government reveal that between January and May 2011 there was an increase of 38% in the number of murders of indigenous people compared to the same period in 2010.
• The ONIC has reported that 75% of Colombia's indigenous children are malnourished.
• Sexual violence against indigenous women is very common and is committed by different armed groups in armed conflict. Most cases go unreported because of a number of serious obstacles to access to justice for indigenous women, including fear of reprisals, lack of translators and no training for justice officials.
Risk of Extinction
The Constitutional Court has ordered the State to create safeguarding plans for 35 indigenous peoples who are at risk of disappearing, and a national program to guarantee indigenous rights. The fulfillment of this Ruling has exceeded the terms established by the Constitutional Court. The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) has mapped the situation of 30 additional peoples who are also at risk of extinction.
Indigenous Peoples and Economic Megaprojects
The pressure exerted by companies to implement economic megaprojects in indigenous territories increases the vulnerability of indigenous peoples. It is necessary, as James Anaya emphasizes in his report on his visit to Colombia in 2010, to "harmonize public policy for economic development, especially in regard to so-called" mega projects "related to resource extraction, infrastructure, agribusiness and tourism, with the rights of indigenous peoples."
However, the Colombian National Development Plan 2010-2014 and the Trade Agreement between the EU and Colombia, promote the development of the extractive industry and agro-industry, which will lead to greater pressure and cause more serious impacts on the lands of indigenous peoples.
We ask the European Union and its Member States to:
- Issue a public statement showing concern for the situation of indigenous peoples in Colombia and the importance of protecting them from imminent risk of extinction.
- Develop a coherent policy toward indigenous peoples, which cuts across all its institutions and policies, in line with ILO Convention 169 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Within EU policy on human rights, formulate guidelines on indigenous peoples, in consultation with their representatives and organisations, to support the work of the EU delegation in Colombia.
- Do not ratify the FTA between the EU and Colombia. It is necessary to rigorously measure the impact that the signing of an FTA with Colombia would have upon the lives of the indigenous peoples of Colombia, in consultation with their representative organisations. Create binding legislation to require companies to respect human rights of Colombians, including indigenous peoples
We ask the European Union and its member states to urge the Colombian State to advance in the protection of indigenous peoples, in particular regarding:
- Orders and judgments of the Constitutional Court referring to the serious and persistent violation of the rights of indigenous peoples, including: Ruling 004 (2009) and 092 (2008) and Sentences T-129 (2011), T-547 (2010) , and T-769 (2009).
- Implement, without reservations, the articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Urgently comply with the recommendations of the United Nations system relating to the rights of indigenous peoples, including the Universal Periodic Review (2008), the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (2009), UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya (2010) and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2011)
- Respond to the 2010 Annual Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (March 2011) by establishing clear processes for free, prior and informed consultation with indigenous peoples in relation to mega-projects and proposed legislation affecting them.
- Invite the United Nations Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide to Colombia, as recommended by James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.
For more information see briefing paper attached
This information also exists in French (see joint document) - Cette information existe également en français (voir document ci-dessous)