Colombia and Ecuador are striving to stop armed organizations from abusing Native Americans. 

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Reuters: BOGOTA Tuesday saw the inauguration of a coordinated alert system by Colombia’s and Ecuador’s human rights ombudspersons to stop illegal armed groups’ abuses of the Awa Indigenous communities that reside along their shared border. 

In a press conference in Colombia’s capital Bogota, the ombudsmen stated that the warning system would advise military leaders and government officials in both nations of impending assaults and human rights violations to stop them. 

According to security sources, illegal armed groups operating in Colombia, such as the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas and FARC dissidents who rejected a 2016 peace agreement with the government, as well as criminal gangs engaged in drug trafficking and illegal mining, are active on both sides of the border. 

According to Colombia’s Ombudsman, 29,000 Indigenous Awa people living near the border are victims of armed organizations’ recruitment of minors, land mines, forced displacement, and other atrocities. 

According to Carlos Camargo, Colombia’s Ombudsman, the opportunity of carrying out their operations along a porous border with gaps in governmental presence favors criminal groups. 

On the Ecuadorean side of the border, armed organizations conceal weapons and combatants, Camargo added. 

According to Camargo, seven to eight Awa minors are enlisted each month. He also noted that 10,000 Indigenous people were subject to forcible relocation or detention last year, while 14 were reportedly killed. 

Camargo urged the armed groups to halt their attacks on Indigenous villages and submit to the total peace initiatives being promoted by President Gustavo Petro’s socialist government in Colombia. 

“We want to notify the Colombian state and the Ecuadorean state about these human rights breaches … so that the necessary urgent actions are made to avoid violations continuing,” said Ecuador’s rights ombudsman Cesar Cordova Valverde. 

(Writing by Oliver Griffin; reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Editing by Richard Chang)

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