Colombian Army Drops Bomb Near U’wa Indigenous School

Indigenous authorities in Fortul, in the northern province of Arauca, denounced that on Sunday, about 2 a. m. local time, the Colombian Army dropped a bomb only half a mile away from the local school, breaking all the windows, as well as destroying a wall belonging to the health center.

According to a communique issued by the Coordination of Indigenous Affairs of Fortul’s city hall, four families including children, located just under a mile away from the impact, were also affected by the explosive wave, with “pain in the ears, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea and general dizziness.”

A complaint was filed to the relevant authorities, said Sonia Lopez, lawyer and human rights activist at the Joel Sierra Foundation, who confirmed that the bombing occurred when the community was doing cultural activities involving children.

“In these times of so-called end of the armed conflict and peacebuilding, it’s pathetic that such actions are still carried out in the territories, affecting the principles of the International Human Right Law,” she added.

The bombing was allegedly targeting Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels.

Indigenous authorities reject any presence of the public force on their territory, arguing it violates their sovereignty and endangers the survival of at least 500 Indigenous people.

On Wednesday, U’wa representatives, attending the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii—the globe’s largest gathering of conservation leaders—managed to put the preservation of the natural reserve Cocuy Park on the United Nations’ agenda.

U.N. special rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz included the issue in her report, urging the Colombian state to preserve the rights of the Indigenous community.

The U’wa nation has been mobilized for six months, with an Indigenous guard controlling the territory and demanding the government respect a 2014 agreement to suspend eco-tourism in the Cocuy natural reserve.

They condemned the recent declarations of Environment Minister Luis Murillo, who ordered the re-opening eco-tourism in the area, claiming Murillo did not participate in the negotiations—he was appointed in April 2016—and that he was completely ignoring the deal.

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