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Cablegate: Indigenous Mass Displacement Near Tumaco, Narino -

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #8563/01 3512141
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 172141Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0522
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 9677
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JAN 9129
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5718
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 0986
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6419
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4219
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 1524
RUCNDTA/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1882
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP ADMIN// PRIORITY

UNCLAS BOGOTA 008563

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SECSTATE FOR WHA/AND AND PRM, GENEVA FOR RMA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PHUM CO
SUBJECT: INDIGENOUS MASS DISPLACEMENT NEAR TUMACO, NARINO -
LESSONS FROM THE HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

REF: A. BOGOTA 3108

B. BOGOTA 4045

-------
Summary
-------

1. Since mid-September, the GOC, local officials, and several
international groups have helped over 1000 Internally
Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the Awa indigenous group in
Inda Sabaleta, near Tumaco, Narino. The Awa were displaced
by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) incursions
in local villages as well as FARC clashes with the Colombian
military. The GOC and international humanitarian groups made
a concerted effort to register and aid the Awa, but were
hampered by the area's remoteness and difficult terrain, the
lack of security, and poor coordination between the GOC,
international groups and local authorities. The GOC and
international groups are developing new strategies that
reflect the lessons learned from the Awa experience to
address future displacements in southern Colombia. End
Summary.

--------------------------------------------- --
Mass Displacement of Indigenous Awa near Tumaco
--------------------------------------------- --

2. In mid-September, over 1000 Awa indigenous were displaced
from their villages in remote, southeastern coastal parts of
Narino department. The UN Office Coordinator of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) and the Pan-American Health Organization
(PAHO) reported that the IDPs were fleeing from September 18
clashes between the Colombian military and FARC near the
village of Inda Sabaleta, and September 20 FARC incursions
into villages in Cumbitara municipality. Days before these
events, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) had
warned of the possibility of such mass displacements. In
addition to increased FARC activity, including FARC laying of
landmines, the group detected other danger signs such as a
growing Organizacion Nueva Generacion presence, on-going GOC
military operations, and an increase in overall general
violence (murders occurred at a rate of 200 per 100,000 in
2007).

-----------------------------
Initial Humanitarian Response
-----------------------------

3. The GOC and international groups received first news of
the mass displacement within a few days, but needed several
weeks to clarify the total number of IDPs, their locations,
and living conditions. Initial visits to Inda Sabaleta by
the GOC's Accion Social's Emergency Coordinator, PAHO and the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were hampered
by the lack of security and water-logged dirt roads. Within
a week of the IDP arrivals, the ICRC, PAHO, IOM
(International Organization for Migration), and GOC agencies
(Accion Social, Instituto Bienestar Familiar de Colombia or
ICBF) were on the ground providing basic emergency aid -
food/non-food items, emergency and hygiene kits, and some
health and shelter assistance.

--------------------------------------------- ----------
Conditions Complicate IDP Census and Extent of Response
--------------------------------------------- ----------

4. As with the El Charco mass displacement in April (reftel
A), taking an accurate census of the IDP population was
difficult. Upon first arrival, ICRC and Accion Social
conducted a census that concluded that most IDPs were in
school buildings in Inda Sabaleta. The census assumed the
indigenous would stay together in temporary shelters and
nearby homes and that there would be little dispersion to
other parts of the village. In the first delivery, ICRC and
the Tumaco municipality, in coordination with Accion Social,
assisted only 626 IDPs.

5. Days later, the indigenous advocacy group, Cabildo
Indigena, claimed that many IDPs were staying with local
residents well away from the center of Inda Sabaleta and had
been missed in the initial census. The UN / Interagency

Standing Committee (IASC) assessment mission later confirmed
this. In addition to delivering more basic aid, the IASC
mission conducted a needs assessment that recommended that
the GOC and humanitarian actors provide other aid to the
area, especially in the sectors of water/sanitation and
housing.

6. In early October, Narino reps of the IASC - OCHA, PAHO,
IOM, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the
World Food Program (WFP) - committed to providing additional
aid. For example, UNHCR supplied five, 2000 liter water
tanks to the area, and PAHO brought in engineers to install
water purifiers at the shelters. IOM and ICBF brought in
emergency medical response teams. After meeting with the
IASC and Accion Social, the ICRC returned the week of October
20 and carried out a second distribution of aid materials to
530 IDPs. ICRC noted that 500 (195 families) had already
returned to their home villages.

7. Besides the problematic census, the lack of cooperation
by local authorities in Tumaco was a major problem. UNHCR
and ICRC reported that the mayor of Tumaco was uncooperative
- even refusing to work with Accion Social reps (similar to
the El Charco displacement reftel A). Still, the Tumaco
municipality formed a committee for Integrated IDP response
and eventually participated in aid effort.

-----------------
Current Situation
-----------------

8. ICRC and IOM report that since mid-October, Accion
Social's Emergency Response team (reftel B) has the lead in
providing and coordinating aid. ICRC has made a third
delivery of aid. PAHO and the Narino Departmental Health
Authorities (IDSN) are actively coordinating the health
sector. IOM and ICBF established six community kitchens,
cafeterias, and spaces for the IDPs and resident population.
By early December, all but 200 of the IDPs had returned to
their villages. IOM reports that Accion Social and ICBF have
set up programs close to return areas. For example, ICBF, in
collaboration with IDSN, has deployed emergency medical teams
to these areas.

9. The security situation near Tumaco has remained calm, but
the situation continues to be unstable. UNHCR warned that
unless there is greater presence by Public Forces - police
and military - to keep peace and protect the population,
additional mass displacements in the area are likely.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Changes in International Response Methods in Narino
--------------------------------------------- ------

10. The mass displacement in Tumaco is just one of 27 that
have occurred in Narino in 2007. Most recently, 700 were
displaced by FARC actions to Iscaunde in the north near Cauca
department, and 148 were displaced to Sidon near Policarpa at
the foothills of the western Andes. Due to their frequency,
the GOC, Narino authorities and international groups are
working to improve coordination, communication and response
to mass displacements. New steps include:

- The ICRC has dedicated more resources to Narino and Pacific
Coastal regions, including shifting personnel from Putumayo
and deploying a census specialist immediately after reports
of a mass displacement (50 or more persons, ten or more
families).

- UNHCR and PAHO, working with Accion Social, will continue
with assessment missions in Narino to identify areas at risk
for violence and displacement. UNHCR has arranged with the
Defensoria in Tumaco and Gaupi (just north of the Cauca /
Narino department borders) to monitor changes in the security
situation and help at-risk communities update response
contingency plans.

- IASC assessment missions will continue to use and deploy
the rapid response/needs assessment technique (known as
"ILA") that was piloted in their late September mission to
Inda Sabaleta.


- The Narino UN IASC team and departmental authorities are
developing a plan to maintain emergency aid stocks in a
centralized location in Narino, readily deployable as
situations warrant. The department will provide the
facility, and the UN will stock it with supplies.
Brownfield

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