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Colombia: UN outraged by killing of indigenous leader

GENEVA (31 October 2019) – UN experts* have deplored the massacre committed against members of the Nasa people in Cauca, Colombia and urge the Government to take urgent measures in cooperation with the indigenous authorities.

Governor Cristina Bautista Taquinas and four unarmed Indigenous Guards were killed in the attack by illegal armed groups on 29 October 2019. Five other members of the Nasa community were injured in the attack, which took place in the village of La Luz in the Tacueyó reservation in Cauca.

“We condemn this attack in the strongest terms,” said the group of Special Rapporteurs in a joint statement issued in Geneva.

“We express our deep sorrow and extend our solidarity to the families of the murdered and wounded, to the Nasa people and their authorities, and to the Indigenous Guard.

“This is not an isolated event. The communities and indigenous peoples of Cauca are suffering incessant and unacceptable violence. The situation is worsening in spite of the repeated calls to address it. We urge the Government to take urgent measures, within the framework of compliance with the Peace Agreements, to end these deadly attacks.”

Fifty-six people have been murdered so far this year in indigenous territories in the area, according to the Association of Indigenous Councils of the North of Cauca, compared with 46 murders for the whole of 2018. The dead include community members, authorities and members of the Indigenous Guard.

Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz had met Cristina Bautista Taquinas personally in the context of her work to defend the rights of indigenous peoples.

The experts said: “The Colombian authorities, including the Office of the Attorney-General, should do everything necessary to bring the killers to justice. The President and Government should also take the appropriate steps to end the unsustainable situation of violations of fundamental human rights that the Nasa people are suffering.

"The life, peace and security of the indigenous communities of Cauca must be guaranteed. As the authorities of the Nasa people have pointed out, the necessary measures should be adopted and applied in coordination with them, to ensure full respect for their rights, autonomy and jurisdiction.”

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