Internally Displaced Indigenous Peoples Denounce Re-victimization and Exclusion During Quarantine


Displaced Indigenous Peoples in the city of Bogota lack basic protections from COVID-19

By Mesa de Pueblos Indigenas Victimas del Conflicto Armado en Bogota


In the face of institutional abandonment, the indigenous peoples victims of the armed conflict in Bogotá, are at risk of imminent physical and cultural extermination in these times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The indigenous peoples victims of the armed conflict in Bogota, denounce, with one voice, before the general public, the Public Ministry and national and international human rights organizations, the ignorance, abandonment and institutional orphanhood that has led to the difficult situation that our people are going through, due to the lack of guarantees against the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that currently threatens the survival of humanity. We, the Committee of Indigenous Peoples Victims of the Armed Conflict (MPIV) DC, a grassroots organization made up of 17 indigenous peoples—Uitoto, Pasto, Kubeo, Misak-Misak, Eperara-Siapidara, Koreguaje, Nasa, Wounaan-Nonan, Kankuamo, Pijao, Kamëntsá, Tubú, Wayúu, Yanakuna, Embera-Katio, Embera-Dobida, and Ing—have been weaving resistance, promoting UNITY and dialoguing with the Mayor's office to guarantee the rights of our peoples as subjects of special protection, due to the constitutional protection that we count as indigenous victims of the armed conflict and the declarations issued by the Constitutional Court and other national and international rulings.


Although the national government declared a state of economic and social emergency due to coronavirus on March 17 and adopted a package of measures as part of the contingency for COVID-19, these do NOT recognize cultural diversity, and the historical debts and long-term violence that TODAY continues to generate the physical and cultural extermination of the Original Peoples who live in the capital city of Colombia. Despite abiding by the measures taken by the city of Bogota and some entities of the public order, such as the Ministry of the Interior and UARIV, they lack a differential approach, leading to the revictimization and exclusion of indigenous communities; an example of this is the government imposing its legal criterion for accessing humanitarian aid, which does not apply to the indigenous population. Likewise, the assistance represented in markets is not consistent with the diets, realities, cosmovisions, and standards of care and self-protection of the indigenous communities settled in the city of Bogota and even accentuate their situation of vulnerability and risk.


Another fact that WE REJECT categorically is the negligence of the High Council for the Rights of Victims, Peace, and Reconciliation (AURIV), who after several days have not guaranteed in a timely way the emergency and humanitarian aid to the Emberá Katio population, to which they have the right. However, the pertinent paperwork has been carried out, leading to the situation yesterday where they were evicted from their temporary rental, witnessing the NATIONAL POLICE go ahead and arbitrarily remove them and leave them on the street, even though the Secretariat of Social Integration announced on Monday, March 30 that they already have "the protocols ready for the implementation and operation of temporary accommodation."


The MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR, for its part, only included the indigenous population organized in the context of the city, which to date do not have an instrument that recognizes their government structures; does the contingency in which we find ourselves discriminate whether or not an indigenous person has registered with the national government? We remind you that, if we are outside our territories of origin today, it is precisely due to the effects of the armed conflict, the inequalities that we have inherited from the colonial republic of the Colombian State, and the lack of guarantees of our rights.


Most of our population generates their income in informal work activities, which puts us at vital risk as ancestral communities in the city of Bogotá; also, families in overcrowded conditions and precarious physical, sanitary and security conditions of the homes, and a high level of vulnerability in health matters, especially for minors and elders, makes it necessary to coordinate immediate and imminent actions to reduce the sanitary risks.


For all of the above, WE DENOUNCE the situation of imminent risk that we find ourselves as an indigenous population of victims in the capital district due to the lack of differential measures guaranteeing the effective enjoyment of rights as subjects of special protection.


WE URGENTLY REQUEST:


A- the Government of Bogotá, headed by Mayor Claudia López, define and activate a COMPREHENSIVE INDIGENOUS CONTINGENCY PLAN within the framework of the Committee of Indigenous Peoples Victims of the Armed Conflict of Bogota


B- Establish, jointly, an assertive communication plan to articulate the implementation of measures with the indigenous population of victims in Bogota


C- Define a route for medical attention, in an articulated and coordinated manner between the Ministry of the Interior, AURIV, the district government and the authorities of the Committee of Indigenous Peoples Victims of the Armed Conflict of Bogota


D- Provide rental subsidies through the transitory relocation program of the CVP, in coordination with SDHT and the Mesa de Los Pueblos Indígenas de Víctimas Armado, as a contingency plan against the arbitrariness that indigenous victims of the conflict living in rental and lease agreements—housing paid through daily informal work that, due to the preventive and mandatory COVID-19 isolation measure, has not been possible to exercise—have been suffering.


We invite the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the legal representative for victims' rights, within the framework of their roles, to carry out these individual actions and serve as guarantors of the rights that we are afforded.


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