Colombia: Six indigenous leaders killed in four days

In a new report, human rights organisation Amnesty International denounced the increase in killings of indigenous people in Colombia.

Amnesty International states that between April 16 and 20, a spate of attacks by suspected right-wing paramilitaries on indigenous communities led to the deaths of six individuals belonging to either the Kite Kiwe, Awá, Wounaan or Nasa people(s).

On April 19, Gerson Acosta Salazar (35), an Indigenous leader of the Kite Kiwe people in Timbío, Cauca, was killed while leaving a community meeting. According to Amnesty International, other indigenous leaders shot and killed included Pedro Nel Pai Pascal (35), Jhonny Marcelo Cuajiboy Pascal (33), and Ever Goyes (35) of the Awá community and brothers Anselmo and Dalmiro Cardenas of the Wounan Indigenous people.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, director of Amnesty International for the Americas, emphasised that the situation indigenous communities face in Colombia is “alarming”. The spate of assassinations “raises serious doubts” concerning the Colombian government’s ability to follow through with peace plans concerning leftist militants, reports Tele SUR.

”These crimes highlight one of the main challenges in the implementation of the peace process. The protection of the communities living in the areas which have been most affected by the armed conflict and the need to guarantee that these deplorable acts (killings) do not go unpunished is vital” says Guevara-Rosas.

The Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Colombia for 2016 highlighted an increase in killings in areas once occupied by paramilitary, group or individual criminal interests, most notably the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC.