Colombia: Authorities must act to prevent the displacement of 3,600 Indigenous people in Chocó

17 August 2018, 14:26 UTC

In response to reports indicating that some 3,600 Indigenous people from 14 communities find themselves trapped in the middle of clashes between armed groups in the department of Chocó, in northwestern Colombia, which could lead to mass displacement, Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said:

“This is not the first mass forced displacement in Colombia this year which has specifically affected Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendant communities in Chocó. This is a crime under international law and one of the most serious human rights violations in the context of the armed conflict still taking place in the region”.

“Food shortages, lack of access to basic services and the escalation of the violence leave the affected communities in a state of vulnerability with an unacceptable lack of protection. The national, departmental and municipal authorities must take immediate and comprehensive action to guarantee their human rights in the face of this situation”.

The 14 communities caught in the middle of the ongoing clashes between paramilitary groups and the National Liberation Army (ELN) are located in the municipalities of Riosucio, Carmen del Darién and Bojayá.

The UN has reported the planting of landmines in the areas around the community of Jagual and the occupation of a school in the municipality of Riosucio, affecting more than 250 children who have not been able to go to school. In addition, the UN has warned of the imminent risk of mass forced displacement towards municipal capitals.