The Nasa people of Cauca, Colombia are pursuing the eviction of the Colombian Army and the FARC guerrillas from their territory due to the death and displacement of indigenous caused by both armed parties.
“We, the indigenous community of the Nasa of Northern Cauca continue to be affected by the armed conflict that day by day puts us at risk of extermination that we have decided to stay and peacefully resist in our ancestral territory,” stated the Nasa Council of the Tacueyo Reserve of Cauca in a press release dated January 21.
“The indigenous community of Tacueyo, with the support of the authorities, and local and regional organizations in protest, decides to evict the armed groups, as much the national army as the FARC guerrillas.”
In the press statement, the Nasa asserted that they had the right to this action under national and international law, as well as presenting recent examples of Nasa people killed and harassed by both the military and the FARC.
For instance on November 29, during one of the firefights between the Army and the FARC a projectile landed on the roof of a Nasa school, and on December 20, 17-year-old Vicky Soto Mesa was severely wounded while sitting in her home and died in the ambulance transporting her to a hospital.
The Nasa cited several articles in the Colombian Constitution as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to assert that they had the rights to govern their own territory and to utilize indigenous guards to assure the security of their community.
They added that the violence was a direct threat to school age children in the reserve who were getting ready to begin classes for a new school term, creating an emergency in education, too.