United Nations | 12/18/2008 12:00:00 AM
UN strongly condemns the death of an indigenous leader´s husband in Totoró, Cauca
Dec 17 -- The United Nations System in Colombia condemns the death of Edwin Legarda of the Coconuco indigenous people, husband of the Consejera Mayor of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca – CRIC – Aida Quilcué, an indigenous leader who just returned from Geneva (Switzerland) where she denounced the critical situation of indigenous people in Colombia.
Without there being sufficient clarity about how the events occurred, the Ministry of Defense confirmed that in the early morning hours of 16 December, troops of the battalion “José Hilario López” of the 3rd Division of the National Army fired shots at the car which Mr. Legarda was driving.
The UN is concerned about information gathered by its officials from local residents and representatives of the indigenous indicating that at the moment of the events there was no military road block duly identified on the road and that the shots were fired indiscriminately in violation of the established Rules of Engagement of the Colombian Army.
Further, it is worrying that this event forms part of numerous attacks against the life of indigenous persons, as registered by the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia – ONIC – and the Colombian authorities.
The United Nations in Colombia hope that the competent authorities will investigate these events in a timely and comprehensive manner and will try and sanction those found responsible. The United Nations trust that the speedy clarification of the facts will allow continuing the move forward in the dialogue between the Government and the indigenous authorities.
Additionally, the United Nations in Colombia encourage the authorities to urgently implement effective mechanisms to protect the work of indigenous leaders and organizations in the department of Cauca and all over the country.
The UN expresses its solidarity with Aida Quilcué, wife of Mr. Legarda, their family and the whole indigenous community for this deplorable loss.
(This press release is adhered to by the group of states constituting the G 24 as well as by the local EU presidency)