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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-28-08 07:28 PM
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COLOMBIA: Indigenous Groups in Danger of Disappearing
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COLOMBIA: Indigenous Groups in Danger of Disappearing
By Constanza Vieira

BOGOTA, Jul 28 (IPS) - The Permanent Peoples Tribunal warned in its final statement on Colombia of "the imminent danger of physical and cultural extinction faced by 28 indigenous groups," adding that 18 of the communities have less than 10 members, "and are suspended between life and death."

The 28 groups in question are the Nukak, Shiripu, Wipibi, Amora, Guayabero, Taiwano, Macaguaje, Pisamira, Muinane, Judpa, Yauna, Bara, Ocaina, Dujos, Piaroa, Carabayo, Nonuya, Matap, Cacua, Kawiyar, Tutuyo, Tariano, Yagua, Carapan, Chiricoa, Achagua, Carijona and Masiguare, who live in different parts of this civil war-torn country.

"Their disappearance from the face of the earth would constitute, in the 21st century, not only a disgrace for the Colombian state and for humanity as a whole, but genocide and a crime against humanity because of action or failure to act by the institutions of the state in order to help these peoples who are on the verge of disappearing," says the ermanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) statement, issued last week.

Of Colombias 43 million people, 1.4 million are indigenous, according to the latest census, from 2005, which counted 87 different native groups, although Colombia's National Indigenous Organisation (ONIC) identifies 102 distinct communities. The difference is accounted for by the fact that the census grouped linguistic families as a single ethnic group.

The PPT, which investigates and tries human rights violations around the world, is the successor to the Russell Tribunal, which in the 1960s investigated war crimes committed during the 1965-1975 Vietnam War, and in the 1970s investigated crimes against humanity committed by U.S.-backed dictatorships in Latin America.

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