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Colombia, 2/13/2022


Excmo. Sr. Presidente Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia 

Sr. Fiscal Francisco Barbosa Delgado, Attorney General of Colombia


February 13, 2022

Dear Sirs:

We are writing for accountability and protections regarding continued threats against and armed attacks on the Nasa Indigenous reserve Las Delicias near Buenos Aires, Cauca Department. Two armed attacks last month resulted in the deaths of three indigenous guard members, one of whom was only 14 years old.

Breiner David Cucuñame López, a 14-year-old environmental defender and member of the Student Indigenous Guard of Cauca, was shot and killed on January 14 during an attack by an armed group in the Indigenous reservation (resguardo) of Las Delicias.  He and his father were on their way to a construction job.  Another member of the indigenous guard, Guillermo Chicame Ipia, was also killed during this attack, and at least four other indigenous people were injured.

In a separate attack at the Las Delicias reservation on January 24, José Albeiro Camayo Güetio, a former coordinator of the Guardia Indígena del Cauca, was killed.  During the attack, the armed group also kidnapped his teenage son Arlin Camayo and nephew Breiner Camayo, who were later released.

The Guardia Indígena del Cauca is a community protection network made up of women, men, boys and girls, part of ACIN (Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca), who peacefully defend their territories. Most of the guard members are Nasa peoples trying to protect their autonomy and ancestral lands from those who seek territorial control. Since 2001, the Guardia Indigena del Cauca has trained other communities to peacefully defend their own territories

We are deeply concerned about the dangers facing Nasa Indigenous peoples in Cauca who are under pressure from illegal armed groups that are promoting the expansion of illicit crops, illegal mining, and drug trafficking. Those who speak out against their efforts are subjected to violence and death. On April 20 2021, four armed men abducted Indigenous Governor Sandra Liliana Peña Chocué from her home at the La Laguna-Siberia reserve in Caldono. They shot and killed her (cf our letter 28 April 2021). Just prior to her murder, she had spoken out against the increase in illicit crop cultivation in the reserve.

We strongly urge that you

  • conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the killings of Breiner David Cucuñame López, Guillermo Chicame Ipia, and José Albeiro Camayo Güetio publish the results, and bring those responsible to justice
  • meet with representatives of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) to devise a protection mechanism scheme for the families of Las Delicias, in  strict accordance with their wishes


Brian J. Stefan Szittai               Christine Stonebraker-Martínez




Francisco Santos Calderón, Ambassador of Colombia to the US ~ via email, US mail

Daniel Palacios, Minister of the Interior ~ via email

Joel Hernández García, Rapporteur for Colombia ,  Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email, US mail

Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ email, US mail

CRIC: Consejo Regional Indígena del Cauca/Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca ~ via email

ACIN: Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del Norte del Cauca / Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca ~ via email

UN: Juliette De Rivero, Representative in Colombia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ~ via email

US Embassy: Kristen Farrell (human rights) and Mariel Chatman (vulnerable populations) ~ via email

US State Department: Christine Russell, Desk Officer for Colombia ~ via email

US Senators Brown & Portman ~ via email

US Representatives Beatty, Brown, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email


28 JAN 2022_FrontlineDefenders__Colombia