Statement from Colombia's National Indigenous Organization, ONIC

National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, ONIC
Translation by the Colombia Support Network, USA

S.O.S. On behalf of the Indigenous Peoples: Nukak MakË™, Guayabero, Sikuani, and Tucano

The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, ONIC, is sending an
S.O.S. because of the grave and repeated human rights violations
against the Nukak MakË™,
Guayabero, Sikuani, and Tucano indigenous peoples. In a visit made to
the state of Guaviare we witnessed first hand the critical human rights
situation in which these indigenous people are living.

Nukak, Guaviare river basin, Eastern Colombia.The problems faced by the Nukak and the majority of the Colombian
indigenous peoples are not new, they have been denounced for years by
the ONIC – the murder of members of indigenous communities. In December
2005, the Nukak had already been forced to abandon their territories,
due to the war and drugs, the coca farmers, the guerillas, the right
wing paramilitaries, and the Colombian army that have occupied their
lands, as well as the development and execution of military operations
as part of the Plan Colombia framework and Plan Patriota. With this war
as a backdrop, there is a proven continuous violation of human rights,
resembling a permanent genocide against the Guayabero, Sikuani, and
Tucano peoples that have been pressured to leave their homelands, small
farms and settlements.

Nukak mother Kanama, resting with her son after returning from the forest, Colombia.The Nukak- Maku indigenous people located in the Colombian Amazon are
found between the Guaviare and Inirida rivers, and from the Sabanas de
la Fuga to the western border of the state of Guaviare, with an
approximate land area of one million hectares that allow them to hunt,
fish and gather wild plants. The last true ecological nomads are
constantly falling in number. In 1985 there were approximately 1200
people, in less than 20 years their numbers have been reduced to less
than 500. The Nukak MakË™ today are 255 indigenous people found
displaced in four areas near to the town of Guaviare. This condition
puts them in risk of disappearance. The fundamental characteristic of
the Nukak is its organization into small nomadic groups, which vary
between 6 and 30 people united by bloodlines, affinity or alliance.
These indigenous people move around taking advantage of places where
there are water, and concentrations of vegetables for gathering,
fishing and hunting areas, and places for seasonal habitation, as well
as for meeting and commercial exchange.

Nukak, Guaviare river basin, Eastern Colombia.The Nukak maintain the authenticity of their language since they do not
speak Spanish. They migrate from place to place with only the minimum
amount of things to go to another place. Their only riches are their
territory and the natural bounty of the jungle. In addition there is
the dramatic situation of children living orphaned and abandoned, and
their lack of food security. There is also the change in eating habits
that is caused by changes in their lives and the health of their gene

The ONIC asks itself: What are the reasons behind the policies to
displace these people? The indigenous people assume that the policies
are due to the huge transformations that are taking place in the world
and have to do with international politics and economic and political
pacts like the FTAA, the Free Trade Agreement, and its components
regarding our country, like Plan Puebla Panama, Plan Colombia and the
Americas Initiative, as well as topics that are so crucial for our
peoples such as intellectual property, biodiversity, natural resources,
the war on terror, and drug trafficking which affect our security and
autonomy, and their desire to take us from our lands by force, and give
them over to the huge multinationals and their mega projects. The
government policies regarding indigenous people are in violation of
treaties signed with the international community, they do not follow
international directives when rights are curtailed, at a time in which
the government is committed to the weakening of culture, the
deterioration of the environment, given the fumigation policies that
damage the ecosystem, and the life of people of the Amazon and the
Orinoco basin.

In the face of this emergency today, we make an SOS, in the belief that
the rights of indigenous peoples are human rights as a collective
group. The right for a people to exist is the same for indigenous
people as the right to life for women and men considered on an
individual level. So defined, the concept of Human Rights in regards to
ethnic minorities is complete and essentially collective, and as such
the violations of the human rights of these communities that suffer
kidnappings, displacement, torture, murders of their members, actions
which include all types of activities that endanger the existence of
indigenous peoples, their chances to maintain their spiritual,
political, economic, cultural and social integrity, that these
indigenous peoples, the Nukak Maku, Guayabero, Sikuani, and Tucano are
condemned to death, disappearance and extermination, if urgent measures
are not taken for their protection and for their right to return to
their territories.


We call on National and International Human Rights Organizations to
carry out activities to protect, promote, publicize and defend the
cause of the rights of the indigenous peoples located in the Amazon and
the Orinoco basin, especially the Nukak Maku, Guayabero, Sikuani, and
Tucano peoples.

To send letters to the office of the President of the Republic, calling
for peace and action to slow the armed confrontation in the Nukak Maku

That a commission be named and made up of the UN High commissioner for
Human Rights in Colombia, a representative of the Inter-American Court
for Human Rights, a representative of the ILO, the Attorney General for
Ethnic Minorities from the Colombian human Rights office, the
presidents of the Colombian Amazon Indigenous Peoples Organization
(OPIAC) and from the Indigenous Leaders of Colombia (AICO), a
representative from the Human Rights program of the Vice President of
the Republic, a representative of the Colombian Church, a
representative from the UNHCR, and representatives from national and
international human rights NGOs, and that this commission head to the

To the Colombian government to follow the international recommendations
to protect the rights indigenous people, as well as legal and
constitutional principals, since these cannot continue to exist as a
type of legal fiction.

Facilitate the immediate return of the Nukak Maku people to their lands.

Indigenous people have the right to the recognition of their property
and the right of dominion in respect to their lands, territories and
resources that they have historically occupied, as well as the use of
those which they have had access to carry out their traditional and
subsistence activities. Law of American Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples. Section 5.2 of social, economic and property rights.

Colombian National Indigenous Organization ONIC

Please write to:


Dr. ¡lvaro Uribe VÈlez, Cra. 8 No.7-26, Palacio de NariÒo, Bogot·.
Tel: (57 1) 562 93 00
Fax: (57 1) 566.20.71
E-mail: [email protected]

Or write to his web site at : (There is a box at
the bottom that says " Escribale al presidente" which means write to
the president)

Programa Presidencial de Derechos Humanos y de DIH
Dr. Carlos Franco
Calle 7 N∞ 5-54
TEL: (
571) 336.03.11
FAX: (57 1) 337.46.67
E- mail: [email protected]
E-mail: [email protected]

ProcuradurÌa General de la NaciÛn
Dr. Edgardo JosÈ Maya VillazÛn
Carrera 5 No. 15-80
Santa FÈ de Bogot·.
Tel: (
57 1) 352 00 76
Fax: (57 1)342.97.23
E-mail: [email protected] , [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]

FiscalÌa General de la NaciÛn
Dr. Mario Iguaran Arana
Diagonal 22 B No.52-01
Santa fe de Bogot·.
Fax: (
571) 570 20 00
E-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]

DefensorÃŒa del Pueblo
Dr. Wolmar PÈrez Ortiz.
Calle 55 No. 10-32
Santa Fe de Bogot·
Tel: (57 1) 314 73 00
 Fax: (+571) 640 04 91
 E-mail: [email protected]