Since April 28, 2021, thousands of Colombians have joined the national strike which started mainly against a regressive tax reform bill proposed by the Colombian government and now has become a wider and diverse protest of Indigenous, afro-descent, campesinos, workers, collective of women and LGBTQIA, unions, youth, students, professor and health workers to challenge the nation’s violent and unequal order. The United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) urges for calm in this extremely tense situation as the repression and violence of the security forces is incrementing and there is no clarity on the number of citizens killed, wounded, missing and victims of sexual violence.
As Indigenous organizations and Peoples, in Minga for peace, dignity, and for the right to life and to our ancestral territories, we have been participating in the general strike in different territories in Colombia. In Caldas, organized under the Consejo Regional Indigena de Caldas (CRIDEC), with 6000 Indigenous people, we have gathered on April 28 in the city of Riosucio to urge, among others, the defense of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples as a national and international tool for the territorial and collective rights, a serious and structured health policy to meet the needs of food and basic income of the population that are suffering the tragedy of COVID-19, and for the need to implement the peace process that could attend the increase of human rights violations nationwide, even more, when the peace of the Indigenous territories has been one of the most threatened by the reconfiguration of the social and armed conflict.
Today, May 5th, according to our traditional uses and customs, traditional Indigenous authorities have declared a permanent assembly that maintains our indefinite participation in the Minga Nacional within the national strike. In seven meeting points in the department of Caldas, around 8000 Indigenous people will walk, share and protest with students, professors, workers, and other collective peacefully and with dignity. As Embera Chamí in Caldas, we need to restore our peace and living well, as the systemic violence in our territories has been growing against our traditional authorities and ancestral territories. We are defending the mother earth from the extractive model that has been in place in Colombia and has destroyed our ancestral lands. As a historic legacy of our elders, we are fomenting unity in this country in which human rights violations and extreme use of forces have affected our self-determination and collective rights.
For Life, Peace, Democracy, Territory, and Collective Rights of the Indigenous Communities and the Peoples of Colombia
Communication team of CRIDEC: firstname.lastname@example.org