Guainía at risk: Colombian Government ignores the indigenous government over more than the 60% of the state.
Last Tuesday the 5th, indigenous peoples of Guainía, submitted a writ of protection against the National Government, The Governorate and departmental Assembly, who advance in the process of municipalization of 60% of the state. This, through the 1454 Decree of 2018, ignoring the Indigenous Territories located there, as well as their government, and their right to the prior, free and informed consultation process.
The 1454 Decree of 2018, aims to create two new municipalities in Guainía over Indigenous Territories, which are protected by the Constitution. Therefore, the writ of protection demands the implementation of 632 Decree, which recognizes the Amazon indigenous peoples’ right to be governed by their own authorities, since they preserve the cultural and biological diversity of the forest and its ecosystemic services, through their traditional knowledge and environmental management systems.
The 1454 Decree mixes five Non Municipalized Areas to create two new municipalities: i) Barrancominas municipality, formed by Barranco Mina and Mapiripana; and ii) the municipality of San Felipe, formed by Pana-Pana, Puerto Colombia and San Felipe.
Currently, 4’330.841 Ha of the territory, it means 60% of Guainía, are guarded by 4 Amazon peoples (Curripaco, Ñamepaco, Sikuani, Piapoco) in 14 Indigenous Territories, which would be affected by the National Government decision. That’s why the writ of protection seeks its immediate non-applicability. Besides, this Decree ignores what is regulated in the 632 Decree of 2018, which recognizes the Indigenous Territories with the same status as Municipalities, so the Indigenous Counsels can exercise their own government, autonomy and self-determination as the Constitution determines.
The indigenous peoples argue that, so far, the issuance of 1454 Decree has not been consulted with them, violating their fundamental rights to cultural integrity, indigenous government, autonomy and decision making related to political management of their territories.
The municipalization of large territories, such as Cumaribo (Vichada) and Solano (Caquetá), has led to State scenarios with lack of governability and corruption practices in asset management and public resources, as well as the advance of deforestation. Therefore, the Indigenous Authorities of Guainía argue that it is urgent to stop the municipalization process, in order to prevent an irreparable damage to indigenous peoples and their territories. These ones have ensured the social, political and environmental stability of the Amazon region, fundamental at national and global level, especially with the imminent increase of threats posed by climate change.
The elaboration of the legal action and its processing is the result of the work between the Associations of Traditional Indigenous Authorities of Guainía, the National Organization of the Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC), and the Gaia Amazonas Foundation, an alliance which aims to promote the full exercise of the amazon indigenous peoples rights.