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Increase in attacks against indigenous peoples across Colombia

March 1 2010
On February 23, Andrés Fernando Muelas, program coordinator for education of youth and adults in the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca – ACIN was shot dead on the road to his house by men in military clothing. It is not known which of the armed groups active in the area is responsible for the shooting. However, this is just another incident in a wave of violence against indigenous peoples sweeping accross the country. On February 22, Amnesty International denounced an increase in attacks against indigenous peoples across Colombia during 2009, violence that is leaving many communities struggling for survival.
"Indigenous peoples are increasingly under attack in Colombia," said Marcelo Pollack, Colombia Researcher at Amnesty International. "They are being killed and threatened, forced to participate in the armed conflict, and being kicked out of their lands." According to figures from the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, at least 114 indigenous women, men and children were killed and thousands forcibly displaced in 2009 alone.