Tag Archives: Colombia

Two Earth Defenders Murdered in 24 hours..Yoryanis and Aldemar

Colombia: Sierra Nevada Indigenous leader murdered

Yoryanis Isabel Bernal Varela was shot dead in the head in Colombia
Yoryanis Isabel Bernal Varela was shot dead in the head
© El Heraldo

Another  indigenous leader has been shot dead 

Yoryanis Isabel Bernal Varela, 43, was a leader of the Wiwa tribe and a campaigner for both indigenous and women’s rights.

The Wiwa are one of four tribes that live on the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a unique pyramid-shaped mountain in northern Colombia. The Sierra Nevada Indians believe it is their responsibility to maintain the balance of the universe.1_intro_missing-justice-web-slider-417fa

Bernal Varela is the latest victim in a long line of attacks against Sierra Nevada leaders, who have been at the forefront of the indigenous movement in South America. Many Indians have been killed by drug gangs, left-wing guerrillas and the army.

In November 2012 Rogelio Mejía, the leader of one of the other Sierra Nevada tribes, the Arhuaco, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt.

José Gregorio Rodríguez, secretary of the Wiwa Golkuche organization, stated: “Indigenous people are being threatened and intimidated. Today they murdered our comrade and violated our rights. Our other leaders must be protected.”

The problem is not limited to Colombia. Indigenous activists throughout Latin America are being murdered for campaigning against the theft of their lands and resources. The murderers are seldom brought to justice.colombia-indigenas-do-norte-do-cauca

In January, Mexican Tarahumara indigenous leader Isidro Ballenero López was killed. In 2005 he had received the prestigious Goldman prize for his fight against illegal deforestation.

 We denounce and repudiate the murder of beekeeper Aldemar Parra Garcíaaldemar_1

On January 7, 2017, in the El Hatillo – La Loma road, rural area of the town of La Loma, belonging to the municipality of Paso; Was murdered Aldemar Parra Garcia, approximately 30 years old, father Continue reading Two Earth Defenders Murdered in 24 hours..Yoryanis and Aldemar

Colombia’s City of Women: The War Goes On

How a group of female victims of violence displaced by Colombia’s conflict united to build their own city.

by Maya Thomas-Davis, Julia Zulver  from AJE with thanks

Dayanera and her daughter at the stand where they sell food to neighbours; opportunities to make money are limited, and often confined to the community itself. [Julia Zulver/Al Jazeera]
Dayanera and her daughter at the stand where they sell food to neighbours; opportunities to make money are limited, and often confined to the community itself. [Julia Zulver/Al Jazeera]
“We made little cardboard houses and put them in a big box, and you reached your hand in and pulled one out … ‘What number are you in? … Aiyee! you’re my neighbour!'” says Lubis proudly. “It was an amazing experience. From that moment forward, we thought as a collective.”
Lubis, one of the leaders of the League who helped to build the City of Women [Julia Zulver/Al Jazeera]
Lubis, one of the leaders of the League who helped to build the City of Women [Julia Zulver/Al Jazeera]

Lubis is the owner of one of the 98 life-size, concrete realisations of those little cardboard houses and one of the leaders of the Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas (League of Displaced Women), the Colombian women’s group. The organisation’s efforts have built a community known as the City of Women, to restore the right to housing to some of its most vulnerable members and their families.

Based in the northern region of Bolivar, the Liga is a grassroots group run by and for women who are victims of the conflict between the government, right-wing paramilitaries, crime syndicates and leftist armed rebel groups, such as FARC, a battle that is still ongoing despite a peace process which began in 2012. The six-decade long conflict in Colombia has displaced more than six million people, hitting indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities in particular.

While most of the combatants in this war’s armed factions are men, more than 50 percent of those forcibly displaced by it are women. It is estimated that half of these have experienced sexual violence: perpetrated systematically mainly by paramilitary groups, but also by state forces and rebel groups. Continue reading Colombia’s City of Women: The War Goes On

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