(Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN volunteer translator)

Communiqué, May 21
Sent by the Network for Life and Human Rights of Cauca
Communiqué to Public Opinion
The social organizations who make up the Network for Life and Human Rights of Cauca: The Committee for Integration of the Colombian Macizo [the Andean range in the departments of Cauca and Nariño] (CIMA); The National Association of Peasants, Unity and Reconstruction (ANUC-U.R.) of Cauca; The corporation of Homeless of Caca (CODESCO); The Peasant Movement of Cajibío (MCC); And the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC), aware of the difficult situation that the campesinos of Cauca are going through, and especially the campesino, Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities where they live, as well as the reiterate position of the Colombian National and the national and departmental governments NOT to offer concrete solutions in reference to the right to the land, and the systematic lack of compliance with signed agreements, we denounce:
1.    That the struggle for land, like the search for an integral agrarian reform that makes a dignified life possible for the campesionos, indigenous people and Afro-Colombians, in recognition of the social support that the nation provides, has been a historical constant in Colombia, and as a social right of the people it is legitimate and there must not be an attempt to stigmatize them and characterize them as terrorist activities, treating them with war, abuse of power and judicial decisions as has been laid out by President Uribe and  his government and some representatives of the judicial system.
2.    That in the development of the struggle for land, innumerable campesino and indigenous leaders have been murdered, crimes that have remained in total impunity, where the Colombian nation must assume its responsibility and guarantee what was put out in the decision of July 29, 1988 of the Interamerican Human Rights Curt, numbers 166 to 177, which directs nations to “be alert for, investigate, punish and gain the reestablishment of the rights that have been violated,” in addition to affirming that the duty to provide these guarantees is not fulfilled in legal instruments, but that “it has the quality of the necessity of government conduct which wuld assure the existence en real terms, of an effective guarantee of the free and full exercise of human rights.”
3.    That at different times and as a result of popular social mobilization, the Colombian state has signed different agreements with campesino, Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, agreements that have not been lived up to, which has obliged the communities, and in this case the indigenous people, to demand—based on their legitimate rights and by means of the liberation of our Mother Earth—that what was agreed upon be carried out.
4.    That the treatment that the state has given to the actions of liberation of Mother earth has been a behavior of war, where the use of disproportionate and unjustified force by the police and  ESMAD (their anti-riot units) is evidently flagrantly violating human rights and Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for functionaries charged with seeing to compliance with the law approved by Resolution 34/169 of the Assembly General of the UN on December 17, 1979; according to that document, “The use of force in carrying out legal or judicial requirements, should be limited to those cases in which it is strictly and proportionately necessary.”
5.    That the occurrences of May 21 of this year, in the hacienda La Empatriz, in te municipality of Caloto, Cauca, when about 500 people claimed their right to the land and the carrying out of the agreements with the state for the 1991 massacre of Nilo, they were attacked by ESMAD with explosive bombs and firearms, which resulted in 8 community members of the indigenous reserves of Jambaló, San Francisco, Huellas and Toribio being severely wounded. One of these was a bullet wound, which demonstrates the excesses in the use of police force and the lack of recognition by the state of social protest and the lack of will for dialogue and to reach agreements with the communities and their organizations that are currently mobilized.
Because of what has been put forward, the Network for Life and Human Rights of Cauca calls on national and international human rights organizations, social organizations, and public opinion in general, to make a statement to the national government, so that they carry out what has been agreed with the indigenous communities, and that they give a constitutional treatment to actions of mobilization, protest and demanding rights.
Popayán, May 21, 2008

Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621

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