Colombia: Declaration of Humanitarian Crisis in the Pacific Coast of the Cauca and Chocó Valley

We want total peace in our territories!

For decades our territories in Colombia have suffered a wave of disproportionate violence. This wave fell for a while after the signing of the Peace Agreement between the state and the FARC-EP in 2016. Soon, however, it rose once again, with systematic violations of our rights, and it is now expressed in constant armed confrontations, forced displacements, confinement, murders, threats, femicides, and all sorts of violence. These situations have already been recognized in the Ethnic Chapter of the Peace Agreement and have become a constant source of harm against our communities.

After the peace dialogue in La Habana, the situation has worsened, with a multiplication of all sorts of armed agents who take advantage of our youth’s historically sedimented socio-economic conditions to recruit them for their organizations, to naturalize war, and to destroy our families and the social fabric.

The control exerted by these armed groups, which have already started conversations under the Total Peace framework, over the district of Buenaventura and rural areas, pushes food prices up, prevents the local trade of regional products, and intensifies people’s poverty and food insecurity. We point out to the serious consequences of internal armed conflict, illicit crops, drug trafficking, the impacts of legal and unconstitutional mining, megaprojects, and monocropping, the insufficient institutional intervention, and the pandemic produced by coronavirus, which have increased the multidimensional poverty of our communities and their territories.

Faced with this situation, we, the indigenous organizations ORIVAC, ACIVA R.P., and WOUNDEKO, and the black communities ACADESAN, Community Councils of Calima, La Esperanza, and Community Councils connected to the El Kongal Regional Platform, declare a state of humanitarian emergency due to the escalation and worsening of the armed conflict in our ancestral territories, which is leading to our physical, cultural, and spiritual extinction, destroying our identity, sovereignty, and dignity.

The social movement has declared multiple humanitarian emergencies in its commitment to take urgent action, counteract, and stop the annihilation we have historically faced.

We own our territories, we are not foreigners nor invaders. Therefore, we need immediate action!

For these reasons, we demand:

  1. A declaration of National Humanitarian Emergency by the National Government, in particular for the Pacific region, so as to summon all collective agents to national social action for Total Peace, just as recommended in the framework of the Medio Calima and San Juan Humanitarian Caravan.
  2. The end of ethnocide, genocide, and ecocide in the entire Colombian territory, so that dialogue tables with the National Government and armed agents of all natures and characters can pave a clear path towards Total Peace and Humanitarian Agreements.
  3. The Humanitarian Agreement must be the core of the debate in dialogue tables, so as to protect the lives of all of us who are not part of the conflict and have never resorted to arms.
  4. Humanitarian Care Now for all of our communities in situations of confinement and displacement, suffering from serious food, health, labor, housing, and education problems. In specific, commitments taken under the framework of the Humanitarian Caravan must be immediately fulfilled, emphasizing: i) the streamlining of the holistic plan for return and/or relocation, which guarantees permanence and life in territories under optimal and favorable conditions to preserve our ancestral practices and ii) an urgent care plan for women and young people in territories, who have always been used as war instruments and cannot rely on educational or work opportunities.
  5. The National Protection Unit and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies must provide swift collective protection measures, with security guarantees for our leaders and communities, and with connectivity, personal protection teams, and telecommunication.
  6. Greater actual institutional supply of solutions to the land, education, employment, and health problems in our territories, for the general well-being of our communities.
  7. The Ministry of the Interior must recognize, legitimize, and strengthen the Maroon and Indigenous Guards as the main protectors of territories and communities, providing them with guarantees so they can go on ensuring everyone’s safety.

We urge mass media not to stigmatize Maroon and indigenous Guards!

8. The actual protection of those subject to special constitutional protection: the rights of children, adolescents, and youths surrounded by legal and illegal armed agents.

We warn you that the Pacific inter-ethnic Table for Peace will be formed and summon the National Government to pave the path towards Total Peace and Humanitarian Agreement for our communities.

We, the black and indigenous communities, reaffirm our struggle for life, dignity, and territory, because Territories are life, and there is no life without territories!

No decision about our territories without us!

We own our lands. Not foreigners or invaders!

#HumanitarianAgreementNow #HumanitarianAidNow #TerritoriesAreLife #ForTotalPeaceAndDignifiedLives