HUMAN RIGHTS RISK ALERT! Situation of risk for communities in the ancestral river communities of Rio Naya, Yurumangui, Calambre and Calima, and the urban area of Buenaventura Municipal District

8 October 2018

The ancestral territories of the rivers Naya, Yurumangui and Cajambre are located in the south of the rural area of Buenaventura municipal district. This territory is one of the Pacific region’s natural corridors, and the area’s inhabitants have been systematically affected by forced displacement, emplacement (confinement), assassinations, massacres, and threats against community leaders, amongst other actions which violate human rights and in some cases represent crimes against humanity. Despite the fact that the communities in these areas, through their ethnic-territorial organisations and community councils (consejos comunitarios), have resisted these acts, and have openly supported and pushed for the end of the internal armed conflict, the current reality of the situation following the peace agreement between Colombian government and the FARC-EP guerrilla, is that threats against the communities, their territories and their leaders remain.

We raise the alarm in particular over the presence of two armed groups in the territories of the rivers Naya and Yurumangui: the Jaime Martinez column of the FARC-EP; and forces belonging to the Fuerzas Unidas del Pacifico (FUP – United Forces of the Pacific) who control respectively control the high and low areas of these two river territories. The military control imposed by these two armed groups has brought fear to the communities and restricted the mobility of local inhabitants, making it impossible for them to carry out their traditional daily activities and work in peace. The risk of a confrontation between these groups poses the risk that the communities in the area are caught in the crossfire, and the possibility of forced displacement, forced confinement, and food controls imposed by the armed groups. The situation is disproportionately affecting children in the area. A similar situation is currently being experienced by the black communities in the lower basin of the community council of Calima river community ( consejo comunitario de la Cuenca Baja del Rio Calima), as well as in the territories reclaimed from the sea in urban Buenaventura (territorios ganados al mar).

We also denounce that this situation is a result of the insufficient action of the Colombia state, which did not take necessary measures to maintain the peace in these territories in the aftermath of the demobilisation of the FARC-EP, whose ‘vacuum’ has now been filled by the aforementioned groups. The state has also not taken even the minimum actions necessary to guarantee the reincorporation of the ex-combatants of the FARC-EP, nor to strengthen the communities’ traditional ethnic authorities and organisations, and up until now has still not implemented the commitments from the ethnic chapter of the peace accords.

To add to the above, almost ten years after the Constitutional Court emitted the Auto 005 judgment and the T025 de 2004 sentence which declared as unconstitutional the situation of populations in conditions of internal displacement and confinement, they have yet to be adhered to by the government.

In 25 years, the Ley 70 de 1993 (Law 70 of 1993) has still not been implemented, which represents a violation of the individual and collective rights of the afro-Colombian population and increases the vulnerability of afro-descendent communities in both rural and urban contexts.

We demand that the Colombian state and the competent national and international authorities take the necessary measures in order to avoid the forced displacement or confinement of these communities, and any other action which represents a threat to the life, dignity and freedom of the Colombia’s black population We demand that the armed groups respect the rights and lives of the communities and avoid getting the communities in the crossfire; We urgently call for a Humanitarian Verification Mission for the 25, 26 and 27 October to verify the situation and provide the necessary support to the communities and organisations and their leaders.






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