Colombia’s indigenous groups and communities suffering a “humanitarian crisis”


Just days before the 13th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), there are reports that at least 34 of the more than one hundred indigenous groups and communities living in Colombia are suffering a “humanitarian crisis” and are threatened with extinction – from the Observatory for the Autonomy and Rights of Colombia’s Indigenous Peoples of Colombia (ADPI – Observatorio por la Autonomía y los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas de Colombia). Juan Manuel Ávila of ADPI said that there are nearly one and half million indigenous people in Colombia, whose lifestyle is based on principles of  “balance between living beings, harmony, reciprocity, and the defense of common property”. But 34 of these groups are at risk of disappearing.

Just one example is the Nukak, one of the indigenous people most at risk of disappearing in Colombia. Last month, the Peoples Ombusdman (Defensoría) denounced the displacement of 37 indigenous Nukak –  eight families who are part of the Wayari Muno community, of the Guaviare River. The Nukak, who are nomadic and speak only their own language, were forced to leave a municipality of San José del Guaviare, where they had temporarily settled.

Gaia Amazonas first raised the alert of the Nukak more than 15 years ago, and published a short briefing on The Nukak, a nomadic world nearing extinction ( Los Nukak un mundo nómada que se extingue), by Gabriel Cabrera Becerra. Now, according to Avila, a spokesperson for ADPI (a collective of organizations and individuals based in Barcelona, ​​Spain, working to defend the human and collective rights of indigenous Colombians) the fate of many of Colombia’s indigenous population situation has worsened, despite the situation being recognized by the Constitutional Court in 2009.

Más de 30 pueblos indígenas colombianos podrían desaparecer, El Colombiano, 19 April 2014
Los 37 indígenas Nukak desplazados, Semana, 20 April 2014
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