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CAHUCOPANA

Corporation for Humanitarian Action and Peaceful Coexistence in Northeast Antioquia, a peasant organization started in 2004 after years of repression from Colombian Armed Forces and Paramilitaries. Isolated from the rest of the province of Antioquia by a mountain range and historically abandoned by the government, the north-eastern region of the Antioquia province has had a strong presence of rebel guerilla groups FARC and ELN. As in most armed conflict the civilian population suffers the worst consequences. Labeling all civilians as guerilla fighters or as sympathizers, the Colombian Armed Forces and Right Wing Paramilitary groups prevented food and medical supplies from entering the region accusing the community of passing of the food and medical supplies to guerrilla forces. The Army and paramilitary groups set up checkpoints to monitor the movement of goods and forced people to pay illegal taxes for the right to enter goods into the area.

Community leaders who spoke up against this gross violation of International Humanitarian Law (laws which dictate rules of war and treatment of civilian population) received threats or were assassinated. Assassinated leaders were often dressed as guerrilla fighter killed in combat but the community has been able to show that they were civilian leaders killed by the army and have brought army officials to trial. The blockade and assassinations led to the population of the region organizing themselves and demanding respect. They seek to stop the humanitarian crisis (serious lack of food, medical supplies and basic freedom of moving in and out of region) and the violations of human rights in their communities. Every year they organize a caravan of different organizations called a Humanitarian Action to a community to visualize the continued human rights abuses and bring in much needed supplies that the armed groups have restricted entry. Furthermore, they host trainings in rural communities to educate remote communities on defending their basic human rights and s the struggle for a more dignified life.

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