JOINT STATEMENT OF THE II ACCOMPANIMENT MISSION TO THE KANKUAMO INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF THE SIERRA NEVADA DE SANTA MARTA
(Translated by Micheál Ó Tuathail, a CSN Translator)
Valledupar, Colombia, 18 July 2006
The undersigned NGOs and national and international organizations strongly condemn the repeated violations of international humanitarian law by the public forces of the Colombian State, which we have been able to confirm from within the Kankuamo Indigenous Reserve.
We are particularly concerned with the militarization of the territories, in open violation of the Colombian Constitution, which recognizes indigenous authorities as administrators of their territories.
We have verified that military bases are located alongside civilian constructions, putting at risk the physical, spiritual, cultural, and psychological integrity of the Kankuamo communities of the area. This situation exhibits disrespect for the autonomy of indigenous peoples over their territories. The most profound case is that of the military base in the community of Guatapurí, which is located beside the only school in the area; moreover, the location is a sacred site for four indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Kankuamos, Arhuacos, Kogis, and Wiwa).
Given the preceding, and after having visited the communities of Atanquez, Chemesquemena, Guatapurí, and La Mina and meeting with local indigenous spiritual and institutional authorities, we would like to express our strong condemnation of the evident human rights violations that persist against the Kankuamo indigenous people.
We have collected direct testimonials from the relatives of men and women unjustly imprisoned and threatened with violence; accordingly, we demand the liberation of all prisoners, affirming that we will continue to condemn this situation at the national and international levels in order to bring to light the crimes against humanity whose victims are the Kankuamo indigenous.
Days prior to our visit to the Kankuamo territory, meetings were sought with the municipal authorities of Valledupar and departmental authorities of Cedar with the objective of bringing to their knowledge the impressions collected during this mission in order to force the following through of the agreements reached by the mayor, Ciro Pupo Castro, during the first mission, which occurred in the month of November, 2005. A meeting occurred on 18 July of the present year, with the unjustified absence of the mayor and with the presence of the Government Secretary, Jose Luis Urón Márquez, where a list was compiled of the name and identification number of each of the participants as well as their pictures.
During this meeting, the following promises were made, assumed by the Departmental Administration:
1.- Relocation of the public forces situated in sacred sites and zones protected by international humanitarian law, such as schools and health centers.
2.- Respect for the law of previous consultation and the approval of the indigenous authorities of the four peoples of the Sierra Nevada in spite of whatever intervention in their territories, especially in front of the construction of the hydroelectric plant Besotes.
3.- To move forward management with the municipal government to eliminate the Corregidurías (official Colombian government at the local government in indigeniur lands) of the Kankuamo guards given that they interfere with the autonomy and integrity of self-government.
4.- To move forward management with the ICBF in order to adapt the evaluation system and function of Community Homes to traditional practises, which will improve the economic conditions of community mothers.
Finally, the Secretary of the Departmental Government was made to guarantee the entrance of all participants of the mission, with their journalistic equipment, to the Valledupar Judicial Prison on 18 of July in order to verify the situation of the detained Kankuamos, men and women irregularly and in some cases arbitrarily victims of unjustified public identification.
As per the aforementioned agreement, the mission arrived at the agreed time (15:00 hrs) at the Penitentiary Center; however, the prison director, HUGHES MAYA, following instructions of the Director General of the IPEC denied the delegation access, confusing them with contradictory statements regarding their entry passes. This obliges us to think that the human conditions inside the penal center have worsened since the first mission of November, 2005.
The failure to comply with this simple agreement puts in doubt the credibility of the other accords reached. Given the characteristics of the pictures and the taking of names and identification numbers of the members of the mission, during the meeting with the departmental authorities, we hold ourselves responsibly for the integrity and security of all members of the mission.
For this, the NGOs, political, social, and union organizations who participated in this mission affirm that they will fundamentally strengthen their accompaniment of the Kankuamo people in everything related to arbitrary and unjustified detentions, the realization of mega-projects in the reserve which threaten the integrity and sacred value of indigenous territories, where those who live there have the rights to administer and manage their resources in accordance with international agreements and the 1991 Colombian Constitution.
PARTIDO VERDE ITALIANO
RED DE HERMANDAD Y SOLIDARIDAD COLOMBIA – EUROPA
DONNE E AMBIENTE DEA ITALIA
ASSOCIAZIONE YA BASTA! ITALIA
GLOBAL PROJECT ITALIA
COLECTIVO DE ABOGADOS "JOSE ALVEAR RESTREPO"
COMITÉ PERMANENTE POR LA DEFENSA DE LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS
JUSTICIA Y VIDA
Movimiento por la Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo – MODEP
REVISTA VERDE REGENERACION
CONSULTORIA PARA LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS Y EL DESPLAZAMIENTO- CODHES
MESA DE INTERLOCUCION SOACHA MIGD
MOVIMIENTO NACIONAL DE VICTIMAS DE ESTADO
FUNDACION "MANUEL CEPEDA VARGAS"