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Colombia: Indigenous Peoples demand PEACE!

October 4 2016
On Sunday 2 October, with a margin of less than 60.000 votes, the peace agreement between the government and the Farc guerilla to end 52 years of civil war in Colombia was turned down. The indigenous movement, representing one of the populations most affected by violence and displacement, recommended the peace deal and now demands that peace be consolidated with the full participation of all sectors of society - not least those that have borne the brunt of the violence

The following is a translation of ONICs press statement from 3 October (translated by IWGIA). 

ONIC’s opinion on the Colombian referendum

Indigenous Peoples demand PEACE!

ONIC’s IX Congress (9 to 13 October in Bosa, Bogotá D.C.): an opportunity to analyse, debate and agree on action to be taken

The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) deeply regrets the result of the referendum held yesterday, 2 October 2016, in which the NO vote won by the narrowest of margins, plunging the Final Agreement for the Termination of the Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace, signed on 26 September between the National Government and the FARC-EP,  into political uncertainty.

At this difficult time, the indigenous peoples of Colombia, as represented in ONIC, wish to re-affirm their overwhelming desire for peace and we therefore call upon our social and political grassroots members, the social and popular sectors and the country as a whole to rise up massively and overwhelmingly in defence of the Havana Agreement, which has gained political legitimacy on both a national and an international level. We indigenous peoples, along with the regions most affected by the violence and armed conflict, have previously spoken in favour of the agreement and now wish to make our views clearly known to the rest of the country and, indeed, the world.

ONIC’s IX National Congress, to be held in Bosa, Bogotá from 8 to 14 October, will be an opportunity to analyse, discuss and agree on action to be taken at this crucial time. Indeed, we call on the Colombian people as a whole to keep our hopes alive and turn this crisis into an opportunity to build a solid and irreversible peace process that will ensure an end to the armed conflict and lay the path for the social, political and economic transformation of a new Colombia.

We call on the National Government and the FARC-EP to remain firm in their search for peace. We know that political and legal solutions will emerge to unblock the process  and bring the Havana Agreement into force. We indigenous peoples of Colombia give our full backing and support to the negotiating teams, and commend their nearly four years of efforts in search of an agreement between sides that have opposed each other for more than five decades.

ONIC does not believe that a national agreement can be settled only between a group of right-wing elites and the rebels. Any political agreement must enjoy the widest possible involvement of the vast majority of those who were the victims of the armed conflict, including the indigenous peoples, Afro-descendant and peasant communities who had to suffer the social, political and armed violence.

We repeat our call for a public phase of dialogue to commence between the National Government and the National Liberation Army (ELN)  in  order to consolidate a full peace.

Our commitment to peace with social justice remains unwavering. We have repeatedly stated and repeat here again that the country’s indigenous peoples will always opt for peace, never for war!


Read ONICs original press statement in Spanish at