Update: Indigenous Man Killed by Army Named

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 26 July 2011

On 10th June Colombian human rights organisations reported the killing of an indigenous peasant by army troops in Arauca department. At the time the identity of the victim was unknown.

ASCATIDAR the Association of Indigenous Councils of Arauca has reported that the man was called Humberto Peroza Wampiare, a member of the Hitnu indigenous people.

The Colombian army has tried to claim that the man was a guerrilla killed in combat based upon his wearing rubber boots and black clothes. However, ASCATIDAR rejects this, since most peasants dress in that way. Furthermore, Mr Peroza was openly living in the area and was registered with government institutions. Instead they report that indigenous people are being targeted in order to displace them from resource rich areas and silence their protests. Mr Peroza had been active in working for the protection of the indigenous reserve and its resources.

The Hitnu people are on the verge of extinction and as such are meant to enjoy special protective measures. However ASCATIDAR states that "It is clear and evident that they [the government and armed forces] are trying to pursue a policy of extermination of indigenous groups"

The Association also reports that several indigenous leaders have been targeted by baseless legal cases, including the President of ASCATADIR and two others.

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