Renewed threats of terror against the indigenous Emberá Chamí of the Cañamomo Lomaprieta Reserve, Colombia

ELN - Chec Guevara graffiti Feb20
ELN - Chec Guevara graffiti Feb20

Renewed threats of terror against the indigenous Emberá Chamí of the Cañamomo Lomaprieta Reserve, Colombia

On 14 February, residents and leaders of the Resguardo Indígena Cañamomo Lomaprieta were targeted by a new armed actor defacing the walls of community buildings, and outlining threats in pamphlets under household doors.

An armed group named “Frente de Guerra Chec Guevara”, which claims links to the National Liberation Army (ELN), put its name to these actions, instilling fear among the Embera Chamí people living in this Colonial Indigenous Reserve, in the departments of Ríosucio and Supía, Caldas, Colombia.

ELN graffiti - Feb14
ELN graffiti - Feb14

“We condemn the actions of armed groups of any type trying to instil terror in communities,” stated a public declaration issued by the Cabildo, the traditional indigenous authority, that same day.

The Cabildo further condemned the disregard for the autonomy and exercise of self-government of indigenous peoples, and all actions that violate human rights and international humanitarian law.

The defacement of community buildings came as the ELN declared a four-day national strike across the country. Their declaration counters Emberá Chamí self-governance, and their position that their territory “is a territory for peace and coexistence, never for war.”

ELN - Chec Guevara graffiti Feb20
ELN - Chec Guevara graffiti Feb20

For the Resguardo this horrific action is one of a series of threats from outside actors wanting to control its gold-rich territory. Indeed, it has been the victim of several massacres and the beneficiary of precautionary measures issued by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights in 2002; safeguard plans ordered by Colombia’s Constitutional Court in 2009 through Auto 004; and the delimitation of its colonial territory through Constitutional Court decision T-530/16.

Forest Peoples Programme stands with the Resguardo Indígena Cañamomo Lomaprieta in:

  1. Demanding that the Colombian government put in place measures to guarantee that there be no repetition of the types of human rights violations that the Emberá Chamí have fallen victim to, including through rigorous investigations, security, protection and prevention of human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian rights, and specifically:
    • Collective protection measures for the Indigenous Reserves in Caldas ordered in 2002 by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights;
    • Implementing the Constitutional Court’s safeguard measures ordered in Auto 004 of 2009; and its orders in Decision T-530 of 2016
  2. Rejecting the presence of outlawed armed actors in their territory who put at risk the physical and cultural integrity and survival of the Emberá Chamí, and who break the harmony of the communities in the ancestral territory. 
  3. Requesting that the Attorney General investigate, clarify and condemn those responsible instilling fear through disseminating pamphlets throughout the Resguardo, in this way restoring the tranquillity of the community.
  4. Requesting the Attorney General's Office to investigate cases of discrimination and stigmatisation of public officials against members of our indigenous community of Cañamomo Lomaprieta.

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For more information contact: canamomolomaprieta@gmail.com

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