Santiago de Cali, 10° December 2017
The Intercultural University of the People’s shares the pain of the family and community of indigenous reserve KWESX KWESX KIWE NASA, JAMUNDI, VALLE DEL CAUCA over the death of 20 year old indigenous activist VIVIANA TROCHEZ DAGUA, who died in unclear circumstances in the Cerro Tijeras indigenous area on Friday 8th December 2017, where armed confrontations took place between unidentified armed groups.
As soon as we were informed of the news via the communications team of the North Cauca Association of Cabildos (ACIN), three delegates of the Intercultural University of the People travelled to accompany the family in the process of identifying Viviana’s body, which the indigenous authorities then returned to their territory in the municipality of Jamundi during the early hours of 10 December.
Viviana was born on 25 May 1997, in the indigenous reserve KWESX KWESX KIWE NASA, Villa Colombia, Jamundi. Her friends, relatives and fellow students remember her for her commitment to community work, her mastery of handicrafts, her grace, and her permanent smile.
Viviana told friends that she wanted to study more and more in order to teach others and support her community. Three years ago, Viviana went to live in the indigenous reserve Rio Cañon del Rio Pepitas, in the Cisneros area of Dagua, Valle del Cauca region, where according to community members she played an important role teaching children. In June 2017 Viviana returned to her community in Jamundi. It was in representation of indigenous reserve Rio Cañon del Rio Pepitas that the young activist entered the Intercultural University of the Peoples in 2015. Just the day before her death, on Thursday 7th December, Viviana attended the graduation ceremony for her cohort of the Intercultural University of the Peoples, graduating with the title ‘Specialist in Life Plans and Analysis of Development Models’.
Vivana Trochez’s painful death fills us with fear, and alerts to the vulnerability in particular of young people with the proliferation of armed groups and the intensification of the armed conflict in the context of the peace process taking place in Colombia.
We call upon the Colombian government to take action to provide the necessary guarantees for the communities in Cauca, who during the past week have suffered serious attacks by armed groups who go by different names in order to generate confusion, chaos and forced displacement.
We alert the national and international community to the gravity of the growing presence of these armed groups in North and West Cauca, disputing control over the territory and in the process generating terror and mass displacement for communities.
We request the presence, monitoring and support of international human rights organisms for indigenous communities in the area, who currently are in sites of temporary refuge and in a situation of extreme vulnerability.
We demand that all armed actors respect the territory, life and autonomy of ethnic communities in Colombia.
UNIVERSIDAD INTERCULTURAL DE LOS PUEBLOS