( Translated by Dan Baird, a CSN volunteer translator)
Letter from the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) to the General Secretary of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC)
(“The Colombian Indigenous Movement, represented in ONIC, considers that a possible dialogue with your organization should take place before the eyes of the country and the international community. It should be held with the knowledge of: the Colombian state and its institutions, civil society, and organizations for the defence of human rights”)
To: ALFONSO CANO
Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia FARC
In the mountains of Colombia.
Bogotá, 7 October 2009
In response to the communications sent by you at the beginning of the year to the indigenous organizations of Cauca y Nariño and to the massacre then carried out last February by FARC against the indigenous Awá people, ONIC is instructed by the indigenous authorities that comprise it to open space for dialogue with the armed participants who occupy our territories in the internal conflict.
These participants have sunk to genocidal acts of extermination, characterized by massacres and assassinations, confinement and forced evacuations, and the systematic violation of the human and collective rights of our peoples.
The Colombian Indigenous Movement, represented in ONIC, considers that any dialogue with your organization should take place before the eyes of the country and of the international community. It should be held with the knowledge of: the Colombian state and its institutions, civil society, and organizations for the defence of human rights. Those taking part should be people who are committed to peace and to a political exit from the Colombian conflict.
In addition, FARC should keep in mind the commitments it has made in the past regarding the autonomy and the rights of indigenous communities at local, regional and national levels. At the same time, it should take account of the autonomous pronouncements and the self-governing acts of the indigenous organizations of Cauca, Nariño and Caquetá among others.
ONIC considers that a first step to facilitate this dialogue and to reduce the intensity of the conflict should be the commitment of FARC to stop its criminal actions against the indigenous peoples of Colombia. Equally, it should stop criminalizing indigenous people by taking them into its ranks. Furthermore, it is necessary to have an agenda, arrived at by consensus, that allows us to meet, whether in our own country or outside, with our autonomy being respected.
NATIONAL AUTHORITY OF INDIGENOUS GOVERNMENT , ONIC
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621