Valle del Cauca, on the Pacific coast, is a high-conflict zone. Among those most at risk are Indigenous communities, such as the Nasa people who live on reservations around Florida Valle municipality. Communities are subject to repeated attacks, threats, persecution, violation of rights, and the presence of armed actors. All of these circumstances threaten their livelihoods and their very lives.
María Raquel Trujillo Mestizo, the former Nasa Indigenous governor and former sub-secretary for ethnic affairs, was traveling with a protection team of the UNP (National Protection Unit) on March 17, when they were intercepted on the road. A police officer appeared with a group of people who wore camouflage, threatening her team with weapons. The UNP security team surrendered its weapons and exited the UNP vehicle before the aggressors set it on fire. Fortunately, María Raquel Trujillo Mestizo and her team were rescued by the Indigenous guard.
We are urging that authorities in Colombia
-conduct an investigation into the attack on María Raquel Trujillo Mestizo, publish the results, and bring those responsible to justice
- implement urgent measures within the framework of the Constitution and guarantee human rights
- ensure that the right to social protest, as articulated in Article 37 of the national Constitution, be upheld during any public mobilizations by the Nasa people to protest the ongoing challenges to their community