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Cablegate: Ambassador Discusses Human Rights with Indigenous Ngo

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #0073/01 0222232
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 222232Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2197
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS BOGOTA 000073

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PTER KJUS CO
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES HUMAN RIGHTS WITH INDIGENOUS NGO

SUMMARY

-------

1. (SBU) The Ambassador met on January 15 with Luis Evelis Andrade,
Director of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia
(ONIC). Andrade described human rights and political issues faced
by the Colombian indigenous community and welcomed increased
engagement with the USG to confront those problems. Press coverage
highlighted U.S. assistance to Haiti as well as the USG's interest
in indigenous rights issues. End Summary.

INDIGENOUS SEE IMPROVEMENTS SINCE 2002,

BUT FACE RISING VIOLENCE

------------------------

2. (SBU) The Ambassador met on January 15 with Luis Evelis Andrade,
Director of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia
(ONIC), and members of the ONIC board. The Ambassador emphasized
that the mission of the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) includes support to the indigenous community
and highlighted the importance of dialogue in the U.S.-indigenous
relationship.

3. (SBU) While indigenous homicides declined more than 75 percent
between 2002 and 2009, Andrade expressed concern that the rate of
homicides had begun to rise again -- ONIC reported 111 homicides in
2009 compared to 44 homicides in 2007. Andrade said of the 1,400
homicides ONIC had tracked since 2002, only 640 were recognized by
the GOC and only six had been resolved by the judicial system.

4. (SBU) Andrade reported 3,649 indigenous had been displaced in
2009, a 50 percent reduction in displacements since 2002, but a
rise since the 2007 low of 2,503. He noted other challenges faced
by the indigenous including forced recruitment by illegal armed
groups, sexual violence, and confinement due to landmines and other
violent tactics used primarily by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC).

5. (SBU) Andrade questioned the GOC's political will to support an
autonomous and multi-cultural indigenous community as outlined in
the Colombian constitution. He criticized the GOC for insufficient
consultations with indigenous communities when commercial
exploitation of indigenous land was at stake and for weak land
tenure regulations to protect historic claims to indigenous land.
Andrade expressed interest in working with USAID to develop
projects to assist Colombia's indigenous.

PRESS COVERAGE

--------------

6. (U). In his statements during a press gaggle, the Ambassador
emphasized the importance of ONIC's mission and indicated the
United States would develop new ways to work with and support
Colombia's indigenous communities. The Ambassador's remarks, which
included details about the U.S. response to the earthquake in

Haiti, were covered in broadcast media. CM& (publicly owned
national news channel, 507,000 viewers) highlighted the
Ambassador's comments on Cuba opening airspace to U.S. flights
headed to Haiti and mentioned U.S. interests in indigenous rights
issues.
NICHOLS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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