Colombia's indigenous call for meeting with president

Date of publication: 
27 January 2012

Colombia’s indigenous call for meeting with president

Charles Parkinson –

The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) has called for the scheduling of a meeting promised by President Juan Manuel Santos, in an official statement released this week.

The statement followed a meeting in Bogota on 23 and 24 January reviewing the position of the indigenous community within the government’s National Development Plan, which seeks to lift 2.5 million people out of poverty by 2014.

The ONIC statement declared the need to address “the grave humanitarian situation facing Colombia’s indigenous people, who continue to be subjected to killings, displacement, rape, child abuse and serious and gross human rights violations.”

The statement condemned systematic violence and targeted killings of indigenous leaders, maltreatment of women and children, and the continued granting of mining, oil and agribusiness concessions which encroach on indigenous land rights.

At the end of the statement the group made eight demands, one of which was, “the fulfillment of the meeting agreed for the month of February this year, with the presence of all of his [Santos’] cabinet.” It added, “this is the time to discuss those points on which there has been no progress with the government and to thoroughly evaluate the actions of public bodies against projects or initiatives affecting indigenous peoples.”

Among the other points was the demand “to convene an urgent and extraordinary session of the Human Rights Commission to take action against the dire humanitarian situation facing indigenous people today.”

The UN Refugee Agency reported Colombia’s indigenous community to exceed 1.5 million people in 2011. [Actually MRG,,,MRGI,,COL,,4e16d3783c,0.html]