URGENT ACTION -Ongoing Repression in Bajo Atrato region of Colombia: Tell your Congressional Representatives to Take Action
The Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective is extremely concerned about the current humanitarian crisis the in the Bajo Atrato region (Northwest, Colombia). Confrontations between the National Liberation Army (ELN), state armed forces and the paramilitary group, Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC) have created the forced displacement and confinement of rural communities in the Bajo Atrato region. According to community members armed actors have prohibited them from fishing, hunting and farming.
This forced confinement not only prevents community members from meeting their basic needs but has inhumane physical and psychological-social impacts. Seven children from Alto Guayabal, Uradá and Bidoquiera have died due to an inability to access medication or treatment on time as a result of this confinement. In addition illegal armed actors have blocked food from entering some communities. Despite the strong presence of Colombian military troops in the region these actions have continued unabated.
These are clear tactics of terror. Take action now to demand an end to this confinement and an investigation into the circumstances that make it possible.
The majority of the communities currently affected by this violence reside in collective territories and indigenous territories (resguardos) where the presence of armed actors is prohibited. These communities are also recipients of precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) which dictate their protection as legal individuals under international human rights law. Despite this over the past year these communities have faced ongoing repression and intimidation including spikes of death threats and assassinations of community leaders, bombings of their territories by armed forces who claim they are acting against guerrillas, and increasing economic insecurity. Despite communities advocacy to the Colombian government, supported by our partner organization Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission, these threats continue.
Please do all in your power to promote the safety and security of these populations and to ensure that US aid to Colombia is being used in a just manner.
The WFP Solidarity Collective