CHAPTER IV -
HUMAN RIGHTS DEVELOPMENTS IN THE REGION
II. CONTINUED VIOLENCE RELATED TO THE ARMED CONFLICT
55. In its observations, the State emphasizes that, as it sees it, the term “armed conflict” is not appropriate in the Colombian case since Colombia is a democracy–with a separation of powers and guarantees for the political opposition–and is “threatened by the terrorist actions of illegal organized armed groups … financed [by] illicit drug trafficking and the kidnapping of civilians, [and} that they are totally and repeatedly rejected by the Colombian people ….” On the other hand, the State, in its observations, also refers to the comprehensive human rights and international humanitarian law policy whereby, in the very words of the Ministry of Defense, “as long as there are still groups in parts of the country making use of military assets to attack sovereignty and authority, the Military Forces will be guided by IHL in its efforts to consolidate territorial control and restore civilian authority.”
56. The IACHR continues to receive complaints indicating that outlawed armed groups – both paramilitaries and guerrillas – and members of the security forces are still involved in the commission of crimes, human rights violations, and breaches of international humanitarian law to the detriment of the civilian population; these translate into violations of the right to life, humane treatment, and freedom, and lead to the continued existence of the internal displacement phenomenon.
57. The IACHR has consistently condemned the serious breaches of humanitarian law perpetrated by the guerrilla and, in particular, by the FARC, including attacks on medical missions and, in particular, hostage taking. The Commission expressed its satisfaction over the release on January 10, 2008, of Clara Rojas and Consuelo González who had been held as hostages of the FARC for several years and recognized the efforts by the governments of Colombia and Venezuela, the International Red Cross, and Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, France and Switzerland that acted as guarantors.
58. Also in an operation on July 2, 2008, by law-enforcement personnel, 15 people whom the FARC had held hostage for years were released, including the former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt. The IACHR hailed this news by expressing its satisfaction with the successful rescue and underscoring that the operation carried out by the State had sought to minimize any danger to the life and physical safety of the persons kidnapped. The IACHR continues to urge the armed groups that are still holding numerous people illegally in Colombia to respect their lives, safety, and health, and to release them immediately and unconditionally.
59. The “Observatory for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law” attached to the Office of the Vice President of the Republic, states that, by its method,  it has calculated that in the first half of 2008 there were 8,030 homicides. The Observatory also reports that in the same interval there were 21 massacres that claimed the lives of 98 people. For its part, CINEP, which has its own method for compiling and presenting figures, indicates that from January 1 to June 30, 2008 there were reportedly 243 extrajudicial executions, 274 intentional homicides of protected persons, and 27 forced disappearances. CINEP also indicates that it recorded 22 instances of “false positives” in the first half of 2008, which resulted in 33 victims of extrajudicial execution and one person wounded. In keeping with its practice, the Commission believes that in order to present the picture portrayed by government sources and by sources in civil society, it should cite both sources in its report, despite the considerable methodological differences between them.
60. Following, the IACHR examines the question of alleged extrajudicial executions and the overall impact of internal displacement.
A. Extrajudicial executions
61. The IACHR expressed concern about extrajudicial executions allegedly perpetrated by members of the security forces in its annual reports in 2006 and 2007. The issue was also the subject of public hearings in the course of its sessions in those years.
62. As the IACHR has previously observed, the high number of extrajudicial executions reported, approximately 900, led to the identification of a number of patterns followed when extrajudicial executions are committed, in particular the following: extrajudicial executions committed in the course of anti-insurgent military operations, although witnesses state that no combat was involved; in many instances, the victim is unlawfully taken into custody at his home or workplace and taken to the place of execution; persons executed or disappeared are generally campesinos, indigenous persons, laborers, youth, disadvantaged persons or community leaders; the military or police report the victims as being insurgents who died in combat; often the victims turn up wearing uniforms and with arms and military equipment of various kinds, even though, according to the testimony, at the time of their disappearance they were wearing their customary attire and unarmed; occasionally the victims are fingered beforehand by anonymous informants wearing hoods, or re-assimilated persons; at other times, the victims are selected at random; many times the same military or police force that had previously listed the victims as “fallen in combat” are in charge of preserving the crime scene and the available; frequently the body shows signs of torture; they are stripped of personal objects and their identification papers are disposed of; the bodies are taken to places far from where the abduction occurred and there are serious difficulties locating family members to identify the body; bodies are buried as unidentified persons, even when they have been identified by family members or third persons; members of the military and police are given financial and professional incentives and rewards for producing “positives”; in many cases military criminal courts have jurisdiction over such cases and often the Prosecutor’s Office does not challenge the military court’s jurisdiction; relatives of the victims, witnesses and human rights defenders trying to solve such cases are threatened and intimidated; the percentage of those convicted for such crimes is infinitesimal.
63. In response to the complaints received and the concern expressed by the IACHR in its previous reports, the State adopted measures that focused on the training of justice operators, incentives relating to operational results, participation of the judicial police (CTI) of the Prosecutor’s Office in the initial proceedings relating to the facts, and a number of “self-control” measures on the part of the security forces.
64. As far as incentives are concerned, the Ministry of the Defense reiterated the non-derogable rule included in Directive 300-28 of 2007. Such rule gives priority to demobilizations and detentions as operational results, considered of greater value, over deaths in combat to the effect of evaluating a military unit’s operational performance.
65. As far as the involvement of the CTI is concerned, Directive 19 of 2007 instructs military unit commanders to “exhaust available remedies so that in cases showing common elements with homicide of protected persons, the permanent organs of the judicial police are in charge of the corresponding inspection”.
66. As far as “self control” is concerned, on June 6, 2007, the Ministry of Defense issued Directive No. 10, which reiterated the duties of the authorities in charge of enforcing law and order and created a “Committee to Follow-up on Complaints of Alleged Murders of Protected Persons,” composed of the Minister himself, the Commandant of the Military Forces and other ministerial and military officials. Its purpose is self-analysis, self-control and prevention.
67. As to the effectiveness of “self-control” measures in the Armed Forces, it should be noted that the Office of the Procurator General of the Nation (Procuraduría General de la Nación) has drawn the attention of the Ministry of Defense to 80 internal investigations into extrajudicial executions allegedly committed in 2006 and 2007, which the Army's internal control offices have shelved. In some cases, the Office of the Procurator General of the Nation (Procuraduría General de la Nación) requested that cases be reopened, pointing to deficiencies in the original investigation by the internal control offices. In other instances, the Office of the Procurator General of the Nation (Procuraduría General de la Nación) had to reverse the decision to close the case itself in view of the refusal of the Army office concerned to do so, notwithstanding the request from the Procurator General of the Nation (Procurador General de la Nación). Accordingly, the Procurator General of the Nation (Procurador General de la Nación) requested the Minister of Defense to adopt corrective measures with respect to these behaviors.
68. In 2008, the Commission continued to receive complaints concerning perpetration of extrajudicial executions by members of the security forces. The discovery in Ocaña of the bodies of 11 youths who had disappeared from Soacha and who were initially reported as killed in combat by the Army triggered a series of measures to determine the responsibility of agents and commanders under the jurisdiction of the Second and Seventh Divisions of the National Army.
69. Notable among these measures were the creation of an ad-hoc commission appointed by the Commandant of the Armed Forces, which found that there had been acts of conspiracy between members of the army and “external criminal elements” in exchange for “contributing to the accomplishment of improper results,” in addition to negligence in the assessment of operations. In view of the findings of the ad hoc commission, the Ministry of Defense decided to either invite to resign or retire from active duty 27 servicemen in the National Army, without prejudice to their liability arising from criminal and disciplinary proceedings instituted as a result of the events at Soacha. In its observations, the State reported that 10 active noncommissioned officers and one active officer in the La Popa Batallion had been stripped of duty.
70. The rest of the measures are linked to the detection and correction of failings in intelligence, operational and logistical proceedings; the review of instruction and training; the strengthening of Delegate Inspectors; the evaluation of performance; and the human rights certification. Furthermore, a special mechanism was established at offices of the security forces to receive complaints of human rights violations, which are to be relayed to division commanders, who, in turn, are required to act as rapporteurs at teleconferences broadcast by the state television network. It was reported that on the first day almost 200 complaints were received. This system comes in addition to the self-control mechanisms already in place, whose effectiveness is described hereinabove. While self-control strategies may be useful for understanding and dismantling the dynamics that enable agents of the security forces to carry out extrajudicial executions, the seriousness, dimensions, and extent of this conduct necessitate a central role on the part of independent entities in the administration of justice.
71. As regards the investigation of legal complaints, the Office of the Prosecutor General reported that it has 703 ongoing investigations in cases involving 1,155 victims. To date, 952 Army servicemen have been implicated, 293 of whom had been remanded in custody to ensure their appearance at trial. The Commission received information about several cases that resulted in 46 convictions at first instance. For its part, the Office of the Procurator General of the Nation (Procuraduría General de la Nación) informed that it had received approximately 900 complaints of “false positives” and that in 90 of them there was sufficient evidence to proceed with disciplinary inquiries, which are currently in progress.
72. With regard to the role of the Prosecutor’s Office in clarifying these cases, the State notes in its observations that the prosecutors of the Immediate Response Unit (URI) are responsible for carrying out an immediate investigation, while the members of the Technical Investigation Corps (CTI) of the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Nation ensure collection of the evidence. It adds that, in view of the operations of the Military Forces, which call for technical and scientific inspections of the places of the events, the Ministry of Defense and the Office of the Prosecutor have transmitted a memorandum to the Commander General of the Armed Forces, Military Criminal Justice officials, and national and sectional directors of the prosecutors’ offices and the Technical Investigation Corps, to facilitate the investigations.
73. Given the complaints received and in light of the reports available, the Commission is compelled to reiterate that active protection of the right to life and the other rights recognized in the American Convention is part of the State’s duty to ensure the real and full exercise of those rights to all persons subject to its jurisdiction and requires that it take the measures necessary to prosecute and punish arbitrary violations of the right to life, the right to humane treatment and the right to personal liberty. It is especially vital that measures be taken to ensure that State forces of law and order do not violate these rights.
B. Internal displacement
74. The problem of internal displacement continues to affect the civilian population in Colombia. The Single Displaced Persons Register records a total of 2,649,139 internally displaced persons as of August 31, 2008. For its part, the Office of the Advisor for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES) talks about a total of 4,361,355 internally displaced persons as of March 2008. Of the total displaced population, 76% reside in 50 cities and municipalities in 19 departments. The State has reported that it is working on a proposed reformulation of the method used to estimate the number of persons affected by the displacements, so as to be able to integrate the measurement tools used by unofficial sources like CODHES and the International Organization for Migration.
75. As for the impact of this phenomenon in 2008, in its observations the State indicated that it had recorded 59 episodes of massive displacements, which had affected the civilian populations of 44 municipalities nationwide. The victims of these displacements were 5,265 families (22,145 people). The State estimates that the 2008 figure represents 4% fewer households and 6% fewer people displaced from their places of origin than in 2007. However, the number of events in 2008 was higher by 11%, since there were only 53 such events in 2007.
76. As for which regions were most affected, in its report that State observes that the departments of Valle del Cauca, Cauca, Arauca, Meta, Chocó and Norte de Santander saw the number of persons subjected to massive displacements increase in 2008. Whereas the departments of Córdoba, Cesar and Guaviare had no incidents of massive displacements in 2007, they had five incidents in 2008. In the other departments affected in 2008, the number of persons subjected to massive displacement dropped. Lastly, the State reports that the departments of Caldas, Tolima and Vichada –which had incidents of massive displacements in 2007— had not a single episode in 2008.
77. For its part, CODHES reports that in the first half of 2008 displacements were up 41% over the same period in 2007, with 270,675 persons displaced, including 66 mass displacements that account for 12% of the total number of displaced people in that period. By this source’s estimates, forced displacement in the first half of the year saw its highest rise since 1985; the national displacement rate is 632 per 100,000 inhabitants; on average, 1,503 people are displaced daily. There were substantial increases in the number of displaced persons in 24 departments. The departments in the Meta region reportedly witnessed a 133% upswing compared with the same interval in 2007; there was a 105% rise in the department of Antioquia; and a 74% hike in the city of Bogota.
78. As causes of the escalation in displacement, CODHES points to the activities of armed groups operating outside the law, fears of forced recruitment of minors, and crop fumigation and eradication. CODHES also indicates that fighting between FARC and ELN forces in the Departments of Arauca, Nariño, Cauca and Chocó, as well as their partnerships with new outlaw groups in the Department de Nariño, has brought about a 153% increase in cases of displacement in that part of the country.
79. The State is of the view that the massive displacements are caused mainly by the actions of armed groups operating outside the law. Specifically, it attributes 35 events that displaced 12,922 persons (58%) to the FARC and the ELN, and 20 events that displaced 7,455 persons (34%) to what are referred to as “criminal gangs” (bandas criminals – Bacrim). It notes that the simultaneous activities of guerrillas and criminal gangs triggered four massive displacements in which 1,768 persons (8%) were uprooted.
80. The Constitutional Court of Colombia has periodically examined the situation of displaced persons in the context of the armed conflict in that country for the past several years. Thus, in Judgment T-025 of 2004, the Constitutional Court declared that an unconstitutional state of affairs existed with regard to forced displacement in Colombia, and in that judgment ordered that public policy to address the consequences of forced displacement should provide effective protection for the rights of displaced persons and help to redress the unconstitutional situation. The guidelines that were mentioned in that judgment have been progressively clarified in various instructions issued in Orders 176, 177 and 178 of 2005, and 218 and 266 of 2006. In particular, in Order 218 of 2006, the Constitutional Court found –and this is something that was also recognized by several government authorities– that the unconstitutional state of affairs continued to exist and had led, as a result, to the ongoing widespread, profound and persistent violation of the human rights of millions of people, in particular women.
81. In Order 092 of 2008, the Court noted that the instructions contained in previous rulings had not yet given rise to concrete measures designed to resolve the gender-related risks of the armed conflict or the gender dimensions of internal displacement. That Order analyzed two main aspects: (1) Prevention of the disproportionate impact on women of forced displacement, and (2) assistance for women victims of forced displacement and protection of their constitutional rights. The Court examined the disproportionate impact of displacement on women in Colombia, a fact which contravenes the State’s constitutional obligations as well as its acquired international obligations in the area of human rights.
82. The Court held that critical shortcomings persist with respect, for instance, to prevention of the disproportionate gender impact of forced displacement and assistance for women affected by the various gender dimensions of displacement. In this regard, the Court indicated that -under the coordination and supervision of Social Action as the coordinator of the National System for Assistance to Displaced Persons (SNAIPD)- the State should adopt 13 programs to correct critical shortcomings in the area of gender in public policy on assistance for forcibly displaced persons in the country.
83. It is the understanding of the IACHR that Social Action has arranged the implementation of 12 programs in response to the instructions of the Constitutional Court in Order 092.  In its observations the State reports that in compliance with Order No. 092, the Office of the Prosecutor has created special subunits of prosecutors dedicated exclusively to issues like rape as a tool of intimidation, forced displacement of women victims of violence, and gender violence. In the area of family welfare, the State created the Specialized Mobile Units Program to ensure that women and their families receive immediate care right in the communities where they live, all in order to treat the psychological, emotional, social and cultural effects generated by conflict-related situations, domestic violence, mistreatment, child abuse and sexual exploitation.
84. The Commission will continue to monitor the measures adopted to tackle the plight of displaced persons.
III. THE SITUATION OF ETHNIC GROUPS IN COLOMBIA
85. Colombia is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country and its own Constitution protects the ethnic and cultural diversity by recognizing the right to equality and requiring that groups discriminated against or marginalized enjoy genuine, real equality.
constitutional provisions notwithstanding, ethnic groups are targets of
violence stemming from the armed conflict, both as individuals and
collectively. This poses a threat to their autonomy and their
territorial and cultural rights. In 2008, the IACHR continued to
receive information on the violence that besets, most especially,
indigenous peoples, the community councils, and Afro-Colombian
communities in certain regions of the country.
A. Indigenous peoples
87. In Colombia, 90 indigenous peoples live in 32 departments nationwide. They speak 64 different languages and have their own vision of the cosmos, their own history and their own sense of spirituality. The cultural diversity of these peoples is reflected in their different lifestyles, which are generally associated with the land, their forms of social organization and different ways of resolving conflict, all of which have enabled them to preserve their cultural identity. This cultural richness is in constant peril, threatened by the unrelenting violence in many of the areas where these peoples live. As the IACHR has noted in its previous annual reports, outlaw armed groups like to use the indigenous peoples’ ancestral territories, whether for strategic points or to raise and process illegal substances.
88. This situation, combined with the interest in exploiting the natural resources that exist on those lands, has caused violations of indigenous peoples’ individual and collective human rights to increase. Specifically, according to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), between 2002 and 2008, 1,244 indigenous persons have lost their lives as a result of the conflict and 70.351 have been victims of displacement. The State, for its part, claims in its observations that during the same period, 640 indigenous persons lost their lives and 55,325 were allegedly displaced.
89. The ONIC alleged that 2,117 indigenous persons became victims of displacement between January and August 2008. The Commission is particularly disturbed by the toll that forced displacement takes on members of indigenous groups, such as the loss of territory, the inability to reach sacred sites, the loss of identity, and others. The Commission believes that the State of Colombia must devote particular attention to indigenous displaced persons, whose cultures are such that their basic needs related to their identity, vision of the cosmos, language and traditions must be properly addressed. In its observations, the State responds by noting that it has a directive for the protection and comprehensive care of the displaced and at-risk indigenous population, crafted from a diversity perspective in 2003, with national and regional indigenous organizations participating.
90. As regards the nutritional status of children, the ONIC indicates that 75% of indigenous children have suffered from malnutrition from 2002 to 2008. In 2008, 23 children under 10 years old (out of a population of 4,972 inhabitants) died from rickets, malnutrition, jai disease, cerebral malaria and dehydration in the Alto Andagueda indigenous reserve in Bagadó, Chocó. In addition, 17 children died at 21 indigenous communities located in the Quibdó-Carmen de Atrato Highway Zone of Chocó. It was found that 84% of the 469 children that live in these communities have varying degrees of malnutrition, making them vulnerable to different ailments, such as diarrhea, fever, parasites, scabies, and others.
91. The Commission remains worried about the dire health situation. The information available indicates that 609 indigenous persons have died between 2002 and 2008 as a result of failure to receive medical care. The Ombudsman has raised the alert about the plight of the Awá people in the Department of Nariño. The Ombudsman’s office issued a resolution that refers to the effects on health of fumigation on ancestral lands without prior consultation; impairment of access to traditional medicine and medicinal plants, and absence of health services. The Awá people have suffered blockades that prevent food from reaching their communities, restrictions on their right to freedom of movement within their territories, physical injuries from antipersonnel mines, displacement from their lands, forced recruitment of their youth, intimidation, and murders.
92. The Commission has also received information about the extinction risk faced by 32 indigenous peoples in Colombia with fewer than 500 members. The peoples that are at high risk of demographic extinction owing to the armed conflict, the absence of policies that protect their land rights, and inadequate health care include the Yamalero, Makaguaje, Pisamira, Tsiripu, Yagua, Masiguare, and Nukak Maku. With respect to the last of these peoples, the Commission was informed of the collective suicide in November 2008 of 17 young Nukak Maku who refused to be recruited by any of the armed groups in the conflict.
93. In 2008, the Commission continued to receive information about acts of violence against indigenous peoples. According to the figures of the Observatory of the Presidential Program for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, between January and June 2008, 23 indigenous persons were killed in the armed conflict. According to this same source, the figure remains unchanged from the year before; what has changed are the ethnic groups worst affected, which, in 2008, were the Sikuani, Guambiano, Embera, Embera Chamí, and Embera Katío. The highest number of killings occurred in the Cauca region, followed by the Departments of Guaviare, Nariño, Arauca, and Córdoba.
94. For its part, the ONIC reports that the peoples worst hit by the conflict between January and March 2008 were the Nasa, Embera, Embera Chamí, Embera Katío, Wounnan, Sikuani, Awa, Wayuú, Zenuu, and Inga. In particular they suffered killings, forced disappearance, displacement, torture, and arbitrary arrest. The ONIC reports that 70 indigenous persons belonging to the Nasa, Awa, Pasto, Emberá Chami, Yanacona and Emberá Dovida peoples were murdered between January and November 2008, 50% of them in the months of September and October.
95. The IACHR has also become aware of death threats and acts of violence against indigenous leaders and organizations by the outlawed armed groups known as the Autodefensas Gaitanistas, Águilas Negras and Campesinos Embejucaos. Furthermore, the Commission has been informed about threats against the lives of the Kankuamos leaders Luís Fernando Arias and Silsa Arias Martínez, who are the beneficiaries of provisional measures ordered by the Inter-American Court. Moreover, the ONIC has reported a number of threats made against members of the Indigenous Social Alliance (ASÍ) in Guajira and against indigenous leaders in Cauca, Nariño, Riosucio Caldas and other regions of Colombia. Raúl Mendoza, an Indigenous Governor on the Peñón Council in the Municipality Sotorá and a former chief council member of the Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC) is alleged to have been murdered on September 28, 2008. His killing is alleged to be part of a string of attempts on the lives of leaders of community-based organizations in the Department of Cauca. In the course of 2008, members of ONIC have received a series of threats by e-mail from the groups calling themselves the Águilas Negras, Campesinos Embejucaos, and “Association of Colombians in Defense of the Fatherland.” On November 11, 2008, the Unipa-Awá and Camawari indigenous organizations in Nariño received telephone calls warning them to leave the region in 30 days.
96. In 2008, indigenous peoples held a series of protests to demand their land rights. During the indigenous protests known as the “Days of Meeting, Mobilization, and Reflection on the Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Colombia,” which began on October 12, 2008, in the Cauca Region, rioting broke out, which was met with excessive use of force by the National Police Mobile Riot Squad (ESMAD). Specifically, on October 14, 2008, in response to the blocking of the Pan-American Highway by protesters, units of the security forces arrived at La María Piendamó Reserve where they are reported to have used disproportionate force in attempting to reopen the roads. As a result of this incident, 24 indigenous persons were injured. The police also arrested the members of the indigenous Paeces people, Leonardo Chocue, Eduardo Cotoina, and Pablo Dagua. Days earlier, between October 10 and 14, 2008, 11 indigenous persons are alleged to have been murdered in the Department of Cauca; identified among the victims were Nicolás Valencia Lemus, Celestino Rivera, and César Hurtado Tróchez.
97. In view of this situation, on October 17, 2008, the IACHR, in use of its powers under Article 41 of the American Convention, sent a request for information to the State, in which it expressed its concern at the situation of the persons involved in the indigenous protests and the reprisals that might be taken against them. In its response, the State mentioned the blocking of the Pan-American Highway; damages to vehicles, public service infrastructure, and the environment; and how 750 ESMAD riot police (45 of whom were reportedly injured), dispersed the protesters in keeping with established procedures. The State also reported that preliminary inquiries were opened by the Office of the Procurator General of the Nation (Procuraduría General de la Nación) into the use of firearms by at least one patrol unit. It also provided information about the permanent dialogue with indigenous leaders and civil society organizations.
98. As regards the killings of Nicolás Valencia Lemus, Celestino Rivera, and César Hurtado Tróchez, the State said that their deaths had nothing to do with the incidents on the Pan-American Highway and it provided the information available on the investigations open by the Office of the Prosecutor General. It said that the only death connected with the blocking of the Pan-American Highway was that of Taurino Ramos Valencia.
99. In the wake of the incidents of October 14, 2008, the ONIC expressed concern for the safety of the people taking part in the march in view of threats from Águilas Negras. The IACHR knows for a fact that the Ministry of the Interior and Justice expressed its willingness to provide security for the marchers.
100. In its observations, the State reports that Memorandum 004 was issued in December 2008, addressed to the Offices of the Sectional Directors of Prosecutions, in order to set out clear investigative guidelines to be followed in cases involving violations of the human rights of indigenous peoples. It also mentions Memorandum No. 080, of June 2008, which establishes a line of investigation to pursue in cases involving threats made against members of indigenous communities.
101. The Commission has expressed its concern over the vulnerability of indigenous peoples in Colombia and at the attacks on their leaders intended to break down their sense of unity in defending their rights, especially the rights to autonomy and land. The IACHR has also observed that the constant acts of violence committed against indigenous peoples not only threaten the lives and personal integrity of their members, but also their very existence as peoples.
B. Afro-Colombian communities and community councils and those of the San Andrés, Providencia, and Santa Catalina islands (raizales)
102. Persons of African or mixed African descent comprise the largest minority in Colombia. They live primarily along the Pacific coast and form majorities or sizeable minorities in a number of large and medium sized cities, including Cartagena, Buenaventura, Cali, Turbo, Barranquilla, Medellín and Quibdó. According to the census taken in 2005, the number of people who acknowledged that they were of African descent, including the raizal and palenquera populations, came to 4,311,757, or 10.6% of the country’s population. While programs have been introduced to improve the situation of the Afro-Colombian population, the State has admitted that Afro-Colombians have a harder time than the average Colombian citizen and that certain manifestations of racism persist in the country that stem from cultural factors.
103. This is another sector of the population that is particularly disadvantaged in the areas of sanitation infrastructure, means of communication and access to education. In its observations, the State pointed out that since 2007 it has been working in partnership with the departmental and high-level advisory committees and Community Councils to formulate a comprehensive, long-term plan for Afro-Colombian communities, with a view to “providing the input needed to devise and implement a diversity-positive state policy that relies on structural change within the framework of an ethno-development model tailored to these communities.” The plan would be based on policies of inclusion and reparations, sectoral ethno-development policies and territorial and regional policies. It notes that in December 2008, a decision was made to seek international resources to continue the process of socialization and territorialization of this plan.
104. Already at a disadvantage, Afro-Colombian communities have been hit particularly hard by the conflict. On one hand, community councils located in the Urabá region and on the banks of the Atrato River and its tributaries have been the target of acts of violence by armed groups on account of their claims to collective title of properties under Law 70 of 1993 as well as their rights recognized in the 1991 Constitution. In addition, urban populations, such as those in the port city of Buenaventura, a strategic outlet to the sea for drug traffickers, have been caught up in the conflict between rival armed gangs who dispute control of the area. As a result, these populations have borne the brunt of the violence, forced displacement, and land seizures. In 2008, the Commission continued to receive complaints about acts of violence and intimidation targeted at these populations.
105. The IACHR has received information about serious acts of violence in the city of Buenaventura, Department of Valle del Cauca, where 83% of the population are of African descent. Official sources suggest that from January to November 2008 there were 192 homicides in Buenaventura. By the same token, between January and May 2008, the Ombudsman reports receiving complaints concerning 112 disappearances and the displacement of 413 families in that city. The IACHR has been informed that the forced disappearances were carried out by the so-called Águilas Negras and other armed groups, prompting the forced displacement of many of the city's inhabitants.
106. The Commission also remains concerned by the situation of the Community Councils of Jiguamiandó and Curvaradó, which are under the protection of provisional measures issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Walberto Hoyos Rivas, a beneficiary of those provisional measures, was murdered in the humanitarian zone situated in Caño Manso, Curvaradó on October 14, 2008. The perpetrators allegedly belong to the outlawed armed group that calls itself the Águilas Negras. Furthermore, members of the Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz who work with these communities were continuously threatened and one of their members was temporarily abducted.
107. Titled lands belonging to these Afro-descendant communities have been taken over for use in the lucrative biofuel business, which has affected the biodiversity of the zone and the resources on which these communities rely for subsistence crops. The Ministries of Agriculture and the Interior and Justice have instituted legal proceedings to recover the seized lands and provide material restitution. A just conclusion to this proceeding will have an impact on the risk factors that affect the security of the families that live in humanitarian zones and on their material and cultural survival. The IACHR trusts that the State will involve the communities that live in these humanitarian zones in these processes and that the manner in which they are conducted will ensure complete transparency and security.
108. During his November, 2008 visit the IACHR Rapporteur for Colombia visited the area and will report his observations to the Inter-American Court as part of the provisional measures ordered for the communities of Jiguamiandó and Curvaradó. Also during 2009 the IACHR plans to make public a report on the situation of afro-Colombians, prepared by its Rapporteurship on Afro-descendants and against Racial Discrimination.
109. At all events, in its efforts to set up programs for communities especially hard hit by the conflict and restitution of lands, the National Reparation and Reconciliation Commission must devote special attention to the impact the situation has on Afro-Colombians.
 Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, pages 2 and 6.
 See IACHR Press Release No. 60/08, whereby the Commission strongly condemns the attack with explosives on a medical mission in Colombia on December 7, 2008, in the region of Caguán, which resulted in the death of two persons, Yamid Correa Calderón and John Alape, and injuries to three others: Claudia Gómez, Diana Pinto, and Laura Melisa Barrios. In the Press Release, the IACHR once again strongly condemns the indiscriminate acts of violence against the civilian population, which are violations of international humanitarian law. See http://www.cidh.org/Comunicados/English/2008/60.08eng.htm.
 IACHR, Press Communiqué No. 2/08. Available at:
 Press Release No. 28/08, which praises the rescue of José Miguel Arteaga, Juan Carlos Bermeo, Íngrid Betancourt, Julio Buitrago, Armando Castellanos, John Jairo Durán, Armando Flórez, Raimundo Malagón, José Ricardo Marulanda, William Pérez, Vaney Rodríguez, Erasmo Romero, Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes, and Keith Stansell. See http://www.cidh.org/Comunicados/English/2008/28.08eng.htm
 The procedure followed for statistical studies by the “Observatory for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law” attached to the Office of the Vice President of the Republic, consists of compiling the data reported by the National Police Force’s Criminal Research Center and comparing and validating them against its “Weekly Press Log,” which is the outcome of a daily review of national and regional newspapers and radio stations on the internet. There it gathers reported data on the following: judicial activity related to human rights and international humanitarian law, captures of combatants, members of outlaw groups, military actions taken by Colombia’s Armed Forces, actions taken by “subversive groups” and self-defense groups; violations of international humanitarian law, additional categories, those violations committed by unknown perpetrators and what it generically referred to as “peace and anti-war manifestations.” This source does not publish a list of victims of these behaviors. See http://www.derechoshumanos.gov.co/modules.php?name=informacion&file=article&sid=223.
 While CINEP based its figures on journalistic sources, its recent reports state that it has had to “… rely far less on journalistic sources and get its facts firsthand from the victims, their families, their organizations, attorneys and social milieu […]. We are increasingly convinced that we cannot possibly offer reliable statistics on serious human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law in Colombia [..]. There are many reasons why so many –at times an enormous number- of these violations never come to light or never come to the attention of the organizations that can report them. There are reasons; often it is fear [..]. Sometimes the reasons have to do with resources and communications in a country of enormous size and with extreme poverty [...]. At times the explanation has to do with a lack of information or the absence of mediating bodies to process and compile complaints. [..] Often the facts are not learned or reported for months or even years.” See CINEP Data Bank, Noche y Niebla No. 34/35, p. 15. For more details see “Síntesis del marco conceptual adoptado por el Banco de Datos” in http://www.nocheyniebla.org. It should be noted that this source does publish the list of victims of various violations reported in its statistics.
 This source makes reference both to “Victims of extrajudicial execution as a result of abuse of authority and social intolerance by direct and indirect agents of the State (human rights violations)” and to “victims recorded simultaneously as victims of extrajudicial executions committed by direct or indirect agents of the State motivated by political persecution (human rights violations) and as intentional homicides of protected persons (violations of international humanitarian law).” See CINEP Data Bank, Noche y Niebla No. 37, p. 46, http://www.nocheyniebla.org/files/u1/37/02presentacion37.pdf
 See CINEP Data Bank, Noche y Niebla No. 37, p. 48, http://www.nocheyniebla.org/files/u1/37/02presentacion37.pdf.
 Noche y Niebla No. 37, p. 17, http://www.nocheyniebla.org/files/u1/37/02presentacion37.pdf.
 CINEP is one of the few non-official entities gathering data for the whole country from different civil society sources and reporting statistical information related to the armed conflict. The information in the CINEP report comes from 78 civil society organizations, which include human rights organizations, religious organizations, educational organizations, ethnic organizations and unions. See CINEP Data Bank, Noche y Niebla No. 34/35.
 See IACHR, Chapter IV - Colombia in Annual Report of the IACHR 2006; and Chapter IV - Colombia en el Annual Report of the IACHR 2007.
 As of November 20, 2007, there were 887 proceedings for extrajudicial execution on record, of which four in five occurred in the previous three years. Note from Office of the Procurator General of the Nation (Procurador General de la Nación) Edgardo Maya to Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos dated November 21, 2007.
 Preliminary report of the “International Mission of Observers on Extrajudicial Executions and Impunity in Colombia,” made public in Bogotá on October 10, 2007. See also Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Observatory of the Colombia–Europe–USA Coordination, “False Positives: Extrajudicial killings directly attributed to the security forces in Colombia, July 2002 to June 2006.”
 The IACHR has received a copy of the Protocol for recognition of human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law with particular attention to homicide of protected persons, made public in July 2008. Note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs DDH 50992/2420 of September 30, 2008.
Ministry of the Defense,
Rights. Actions and Results of the Security Forces in the Protection
of Human Rights 2002 – 2008.
 Ministry of Defense, Directive 19 of 2007, which is supplementary to Directive 10 and provides that investigations of cases of deaths in combat should be carried out by the Judicial Police.
 Ministry of Defense, Directive 10 of June 6, 2007.
 Note from Office of the Procurator General of the Nation (Procuraduría General de la Nación) Edgardo Maya to Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos dated November 21, 2007.
 Hearing on “Follow-up to complaints regarding extrajudicial executions/ Actions in response to murders of protected persons in Colombia,” held on October 22, 2008, during the 133rd Regular Session of the IACHR at the request of the Colombian State and the following organizations: Corporación Jurídica Libertad, Colombian Jurists Commission, José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective, Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz, MINGA, REINICIAR, GIDH, Committee for Solidarity with Political Prisoners. Audio available at http://www.cidh.org/Audiencias/seleccionar.aspx.
 Soacha is a municipality in the Department of Cundinamarca, situated 40 km from Bogotá city center.
 See Press release, “Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia urges coordinated efforts and leadership to clear up and put an end to alleged extrajudicial executions” of September 26, 2008.
 Resolution 4342 of the Minister of Defense of October 3, 2008.
 The ad-hoc commission noted that it found “evidence of serious negligence at different levels of the command structure as regards observance and verification of procedures in the intelligence cycle and planning, leadership, execution, and evaluation of military operations and missions, as well as an inexcusable lack of diligence on the part of the command through failure to investigate thoroughly alleged irregularities within their jurisdiction. The commission concluded that this negligence may have facilitated conspiracy by a number of national army servicemen with external criminal elements, who enjoyed impunity in exchange for contributing to the accomplishment of improper results that are in complete opposition to the Policy of Democratic Security and military doctrine and honor.” Note 1723 of the Permanent Mission of Colombia to the OAS of October 29, 2008, which encloses the press release of the Office of the President of October 29, 2008.
Note 1723 of the Permanent Mission of Colombia to the OAS of October
29, 2008, which encloses the press release of the Office of the
President of October 29, 2008. See also
 In its observations, the State reported that the investigations were being handled by Specialized Prosecutor’s Office 72, assigned to the National Human Rights Unit of the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Nation, which was based in the city of Cúcuta. For its part, the disappearance of the youths was being investigated by Specialized Prosecutor’s Office 19, also assigned to the National Human Rights Unit of the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Nation, which was based in the city of Bogotá. Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, page 22.
 Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, page 24.
 See Press Release of the Presidency of the Republic of Colombia of November 17, 2008 in http://web.presidencia.gov.co/sp/2008/noviembre/17/04172008.html. For the full text see document “Fifteen new measures on the matter of human rights”. The measures are the following 1. With the aim that military doctrine is completely complied with, a review process will be carried out over the following three months, down to the tactical level, to verify that it is being fully implemented. At the end of the review process the adjustments will be put into operation in accordance with this objective. 2. The work in this area will focus on identifying failures in intelligence procedures, operational procedures and logistical procedures (controls over the use and storage of weapons and munitions); and reviewing the implementation of the intelligence doctrine. 3. Review the training in human rights in accordance with the Comprehensive Policy and the Single Teaching Model. 4. Establishing in the next three months a human rights learning evaluation system. 5. Organizing workshops in all the Divisions about the responsibility of the Commanders and strengthening that material in the training and teaching schools. 6. For the purpose of ensuring a rapid and efficient process for guaranteeing the investigation, an Immediate Inspection Commission (CII) has been created with the same composition as the Temporary Commission, which will immediately travel to places where complaints or accusations concerning serious human rights abuses or IHL breaches have been made. This Commission will analyze the case from the operational point of view and will recommend to the Inspector to take immediate corresponding administrative and disciplinary actions and the necessary revisions of the operational procedures. 7. Examine the changes necessary to revise and strengthen the position of Delegated Inspector that from now on will report to the Inspector General of the General Command of the Armed Forces exclusively on issues concerning human rights and IHL. 8. With the aim of guaranteeing the unity of criteria and a greater independence in planning, execution and evaluation of military operations, the measures adopted in relation to the Operational Legal Advisers (AJOs) will be concentrated on organizing a hierarchical structure for this body of advisers; and b. Ensuring that in the future these report to Headquarters in Bogotá in each of the Armed Forces. 9. From now on, the use of force against illegal armed groups will be preceded by the necessary approval by the General Command of the Armed Forces and a periodic evaluation mechanism of the authorized use of force in order to counteract the different threats will be implemented. 10. The National Police will have primacy in respect to the fight against criminal gangs (BACRIM). 11. With a view to improving the evolution of the performance of military units, the action to be carried out over the next three months will focus on perfecting the evaluation system of military units to ensure that they are evaluated according to the fulfillment of the objectives set for the different types of operations, according to the level of the threat in the area. 12. The work over the next three months will be concentrated on putting into operation a system for implementing rules of engagement that take into account the different threat levels in the territory. 13. A certification in human rights will be established for all officers aspiring to participate in the course for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel or General, according to a detailed examination of their C.V. 14. Strengthen the judicial involvement in operations by the Prosecutor General’s Office and the CTI (Technical Investigation Unit), and fulfilling completely the Directives 10 and 19. 15. Establish as far down as the tactical level a system of receiving complaints on human rights issues and ensuring a fluid dialogue with civil society will be established as far down as the tactical level. Available at http://colombiaemb.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=474&Itemid=151.
 It should be clarified that under Colombian law, detained servicemen are held at military facilities rather than at detention centers in the regular prison system.
 Meeting with officials of the Office of the Prosecutor General on November 19, 2008 during the working visit of the Rapporteur for Colombia, Víctor E. Abramovich, from November 18 to 21, 2008 in Colombia.
 The members of the Technical Investigation Corps (CTI) shall inspect scenes of events where their scientific expertise is needed; while the members of the CTI are on scene, law enforcement shall afford them protection, in keeping with the legal obligation incumbent upon the “First Responder”; to facilitate the proceedings, the military are to quickly transport the members of the CTI to the scene of the events, ensure their safety and return to their respective base; after searching for, finding, gathering, packaging and securing the physical evidence and material clues found on the scene and after interviewing possible witnesses, the members of the CTI will submit the respective reports to the Immediate Response Units of the Prosecutor’s Office; the Prosecutor with the Immediate Response Unit shall immediately undertake preventive measures, in accordance with Article 29 of the Constitution; if subjective and practical factors are apparent that prescribe military jurisdiction, the prosecutor shall decide to transfer the investigation. If no such evidence is present, the Prosecutor’s Office shall continue to prosecute the case. Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, page 21.
 I/A Court H. R., Case of Myrna Mack Chang. Judgment of November 25, 2003. Series C No. 101, para. 153. Case of Bulacio. Judgment of September 18, 2003. Series C No. 100, para. 111. Case of Juan Humberto Sánchez. Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of Preliminary Objections, Merits and Reparations. (Art. 67 American Convention on Human Rights). Judgment of November 26, 2003. Series C No. 102, para. 110.
 Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, page 25.
 In its observations, the State indicates that the massive displacements were heaviest in the departments of Arauca, Cauca and Nariño. In 2008, each of these three departments accounted for 20% of the persons subjected to massive displacement in the country. In Arauca, 4,483 people were forced from the municipalities of Tame, Arauca, Arauquita, Saravena and Fortul; in Cauca, 4,465 were uprooted from the municipalities of Argelia, Balboa, Caloto, Guapi, López de Micay, Miranda, Paéz, Timbiquí and Toribío; and in Nariño, 4,366 people were displaced from Barbacoas, Córdoba, Francisco Pizarro, Ipiales, Olaya Herrera, Policarpa, Roberto Payán and Samaniego. However difficult the situation in Nariño was in 2008, the number of persons subjected to massive displacement that year was 72% of what it had been in 2007, when 15,672 were displaced. Chocó ranked fourth in terms of the number of persons subjected to massive displacement and represented 13% of the total. The Chocó victims were uprooted from the municipalities of Alto, Medio and Bajo Baudó, Condoto, El Litoral de San Juan, Istmina and Medio Atrato. Antioquia accounted for 6.8% because of the massive displacements that occurred in Anorí, Apartadó, Chigorodó, Ituango, Mutatá, San Rafael, Turbo and Urrao. The remaining 20% of the massive displacements were uprooted from the departments of Valle del Cauca, Córdoba, Meta, Cesar, Putumayo, Norte de Santander, Guaviare, Magdalena, Bolívar, Huila and Caquetá. Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, pages 29 and 30.
CODHES, Newsletter 74 of September 25, 2008.
CODHES, Newsletter 74 of September 25, 2008.
CODHES, Newsletter 74 of September 25, 2008.
 Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, page 31.
 The list of programs mentioned by the Court is as follows: Program on Prevention of Disproportionate Gender Impact of Displacement, through Prevention of Special Gender Risks in the Context of the Armed Conflict; Program on Prevention of Sexual Violence against Displaced Women and Comprehensive Assistance for Victims; Program on Prevention of Domestic and Community Violence against Displaced Women and Comprehensive Assistance for Victims; Program on Health Promotion for Displaced Women; Program of Support for Displaced Women Heads of Household, Facilitation of Access to Work and Productive Opportunities, and Prevention of Domestic and Labor Exploitation of Displaced Women; Educational Support Program for Displaced Women over the Age of 15; Program to Facilitate Access to Land Ownership by Displaced Women; Program on Protection of the Rights of Displaced Indigenous Women; Program on Protection of the Rights of Displaced Afro-Colombian Women; Program on Promotion of Participation for Displaced Women and on Prevention of Violence against Women Leaders or Women Who Come to Public Prominence through Social, Civic, or Human-Rights Advancement Activities; Program to Ensure the Rights of Displaced Women As Victims of the Armed Conflict to Justice, the Truth, Reparation, and Non Repetition; Psychosocial Mentoring Program for Displaced Women; Program on Elimination of Barriers to the Displaced Women’s Protection System.
 Information supplied by officials of Acción Social during the meeting held in the city of Bogotá, November 19, 2008.
 Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, page 34.
 According to the most recent population census, taken in 2005, 1,378,884 indigenous people live in Colombia and represent 3.4% of the country’s total population. At the present time, there are 710 certified reservations located in 27 departments and 228 municipalities throughout Colombian territory. The Commission underscores the fact that the most recent population census –taken in 2005- reportedly included the criterion of self-identification in determining the percentages of indigenous population in Colombia. See in: National Statistics Department. Office of the Director of the Census and Demography. Colombia Una Nación Multicultural. Su diversidad étnica, October 2006, available at: http://www.dane.gov.co/censo/files/presentaciones/grupos_etnicos.pdf.
 National Planning Department, Office of the Director of Sustainable Development in the Territories, “Los pueblos indígenas de Colombia en el umbral del nuevo milenio”, Bogotá 2004, p. 33. According to the DNP, the largest peoples have from 149,827 members to 32,899 members. Other groups have between 14,000 and 26,000 members. There are 39 indigenous peoples with fewer than 1,000 members, and four peoples with fewer than 100. They are: the Dujos, at 98, the Pismira at 61, the Makaguaje at 50 and the Taiwano, with 22 members. According to Colombia’s National Indigenous Organization, ONIC, 28 indigenous peoples have fewer than 500 members; 15 have fewer than 200, and six have fewer than a hundred. For 2001, Colombia’s National Planning Department estimated the indigenous population at 785,356, which represents 1.83% of the country’s total population. The Colombian State has established 648 reservations, which represent 27.02% of the national territory. Most of these are intended for special conservation and preservation. See information updated to February 2006, Colombian Rural Development Institute, INCODER.
 National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), Human rights violations among indigenous peoples: Our reality in figures. Document presented by the ONIC to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, November 18, 2008.
 Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, page 40.
 ONIC Report for the Periodic Universal Review of Colombia, August 21, 2008.
 Displacement may also threaten the survival of indigenous peoples in Colombia with few members. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has reported that members of the Baro people, which have approximately 700 members, were displaced to Peru. UNHCR Colombian tribes people flee to Amazon town for safety. October 17, 2008. http://www.unhcr.org/news/NEWS/48f884012.html
 Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, page 41.
 National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), Letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, November 18, 2008.
 Diocese of Quibdó, Vicariate for Indigenous Pastoral Care and Association of the Indigenous Councils of the Emberá, Wounaan, Katío, Chamí and Tule Peoples of the Department of Chocó, Record of deceased children in 2008, Alto Andagueda Indigenous Reserve, Municipality of Bagadó, Chocó.
 Diocese of Quibdó, Vicariate for Indigenous Pastoral Care and Association of the Indigenous Councils of the Emberá, Wounaan, Katío, Chamí and Tule Peoples of the Department of Chocó, Record of under-five mortality in the Quibdó-Carmen de Atrato Highway Zone, Choco, second half of 2007 to first half of 2008.
 National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), Letter to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, November 18, 2008.
 Ombudsman Resolution 53: Human rights situation of the Awá indigenous people in the Department of Nariño, June 5, 2008, p. 10.
 Ombudsman Resolution 53: Human rights situation of the Awá indigenous people in the Department of Nariño, June 5, 2008, pp. 10, 11, and 13.
 National Indigenous Organization of Colombia – ONIC, Human rights violations among indigenous peoples: Our reality in figures. Document presented by the ONIC to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, November 18, 2008.
 Information supplied by representatives of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), officials from the Ombudsman’s Office and officials of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia, November 18 and 19, 2008. The State, for its part, wrote in its observations that there is no official corroboration of this information, since the corresponding complaints are not on record with authorities like the ICBF and the Ombudsman’s Office. Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, page 42.
 Observatory of the Presidential Program for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. Indicators on human rights and international humanitarian law in Colombia, January-June 2008, pp. 15-16. http://www.derechoshumanos.gov.co/observatorio_de_DDHH/observatorio_ddh.asp.
 Observatory for Human Rights of the Office of the Vice President of the Republic. Indicators on human rights and international humanitarian law in Colombia, January-June 2008, pp. 15-19
According to the ONIC, other peoples whose human rights were
violated include the Guanano, Wiba, Saliba, Maiben, Yamalero, Yaruro,
Amurua, Wipiwi, Eduria, Cofán, Carijona, Guyabero, Bora, Nukak Maku,
See National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), ONIC
presenta a la comunidad nacional e internacional las violaciones a
los derechos de los pueblos indígenas de Colombia, comprendido
entre enero y mayo de 2008.
compiled by the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia
indicate that responsibility for violations and abuses against
indigenous peoples committed between January and April 2008 is
distributed as follows: 24,612 were the victims of the State
(81.14%); 4,171 cases were attributable to the state and guerrilla
groups (13.80%); 1,175 were the victims of paramilitary groups
(3.89%); 262 were the victims of guerrilla groups (0,87%); and 12
cases were attributable to other parties (0.04%); in all, 30,232
National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), ONIC
presenta a la comunidad nacional e internacional las violaciones a
los derechos de los pueblos indígenas de Colombia, comprendido entre
enero y mayo de 2008.
 National Indigenous Organization of Colombia – ONIC, Human rights violations among indigenous peoples: Our reality in figures. Document presented by the ONIC to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, November 18, 2008.
See National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), ONIC
presenta a la comunidad nacional e internacional las violaciones a
los derechos de los pueblos indígenas de Colombia, comprendido entre
enero y mayo de 2008.
 Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC), Press release, September 28, 2008.
 The ONIC provided copies of the texts of the e-mails sent by those organizations to the ONIC leadership on March 12, 2008, August 11, 2008, and October 12, 23 and 26, 2008.
 Press release of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia, UN Human Rights Office rejects threats against human rights defenders in Nariño, Bogotá, November 18, 2008. According to the press release, the threats came after several human rights defenders received threats against their lives from the group known as the Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia-Bloque Nariño.
 The protests continued with a 40-day march by the National Minga of Indigenous and Popular Resistance to Bogotá in order to demand compliance with prior agreements between the State and indigenous organizations. At the end of the march, a working agenda was presented to the government of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez concerning indigenous peoples’ human and land rights, social and economic policies, and undertakings given by the State to representatives of indigenous and civil society organizations. Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC), Letter to Dr. Álvaro Uribe Vélez, October 30, 2008.
 National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, October 14, 2008.
 Note DDH No. 60769/2874 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 21, 2008.
 The State mentioned that the equipment used by ESMAD personnel consists of a riot shield, shields, helmets, gas masks, riot armor, flame-resistant coveralls, gloves, flame-resistant hoods, body armor, and batons. Note DDH No. 60769/2874 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 21, 2008.
 The authorities and the Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC) held a meeting at the Office of the Governor on October 17 and 18, 2008. The meeting, which was attended by UN representatives, was called to discuss the events that occurred on the Pan-American Highway. At talks held on November 2 with spokespersons of the indigenous communities that live on La María Piendamó Reserve in the Department of Cauca, the President of the Republic agreed to continue the dialogue in order to reach agreements and proposed setting up a permanent dialogue panel. Note DDH No. 60769/2874 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 21, 2008. See also, “Presidente Alvaro Uribe está dispuesto a reunirse nuevamente con los indígenas”, El Tiempo, November 23, 2008. Available at http://www.eltiempo.com.
 Note DDH No. 60769/2874 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 21, 2008. In its observations, the State reports that the Office of Caloto Sectional Prosecutor 002 is conducting investigations into the deaths of indigenous persons Nicolás Valencia Lemus and Celestino Rivera, listed as case files 191426000613200880164 and 191426000613200880165, respectively. Both are still in the preliminary inquiry phase. The Office of Popayán Sectional Prosecutor 002 is investigating the case of César Hurtado Tróchez; the methodological plan for the investigation is currently under construction. Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, pages 43 and 44.
 Information provided by the Minister of Interior and Justice at the meeting at his office in Bogotá on November 19, 2008. In its observations, the State reports that the complaints filed thus far about the events on “La María” reservation indicate that an indigenous person died from shrapnel wounds; he answered to the name of Taurino Ramos Valencia. Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, page 44.
 The investigative strategies specify, inter alia, that “in cases that have been closed (either dismissed or suspended for lack of evidence), the competent prosecutor’s office shall examine the juridical feasibility of reopening the investigations (cases Law 600/00); the Offices of Sectional Directors of Prosecutions shall submit to the Office of the National Director, by no later than February 27, 2009, a full report of the closed cases in his jurisdiction, with the prosecutors’ opinions as to the feasibility of reopening those cases. The database should be classified by town, in order to be able to follow the investigations more efficiently; every month, the Offices of Sectional Directors are to convene committees of experts in law to evaluate cases in order to ascertain the difficulties that have been the stumbling blocks in the investigations. Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, pages 38 y 39.
 While the census of 2005 represents a better estimation of the Afro-Colombian population, challenges remain as regards determining more accurately the size of the Afro Colombian population in Colombia and its attendant social needs.
 See CONPES document 2589: “Programa BID - Plan Pacífico: Una Nueva Estrategia de Desarrollo Sostenible para la Costa Pacífica Colombiana” (1992). PND: “La Revolución Pacífica”; CONPES document 2892: Plan de Desarrollo Integral del Alto Patía (1996). PND: “El Salto Social”; CONPES 2009 of 1997 “Programa de apoyo para el desarrollo y reconocimiento étnico de las comunidades negras”; CONPES document 3058: “Estrategia del Gobierno Nacional para Apoyar el Desarrollo del Departamento Archipiélago de San Andrés, Providencia y Santa Catalina”. (1999). PND: “Cambio para Construir la Paz”; CONPES 3169 of 2002 “Política para la población afrocolombiana”; CONPES 3310 of 2004 “Política de acción afirmativa para la población negra o afrocolombiana”; Proyecto Piloto de “Fortalecimiento institucional para el desarrollo, la participación social y la gestión pública en municipios con mayoría población afro”, which receives financing from the Japanese government; CONPES document 3180: “Programa para la Reconstrucción y Desarrollo Sostenible del Urabá Antioqueño y Chocoano y Bajo y Medio Atrato” (2002). PND: “Cambio para construir la paz”; CONPES document 3410: “Política de Estado para Mejorar las Condiciones de Vida de la Población de Buenaventura” (2006). PND: “Hacia un Estado Comunitario”; CONPES document 3491: “Política de Estado para el Pacífico Colombiano (2007). PND: “Estado Comunitario: Desarrollo para Todos”; Plan Integral de Largo Plazo para Población Negra, Afrocolombiana, Palenquera y Raizal 2006 – 2010.
 Hearing on racial discrimination and access to justice of Afro-descendants in Colombia, held on October 23, 2008 in the framework of the 133rd Regular Session of the IACHR. http://www.cidh.org/Audiencias/seleccionar.aspx.
 Note DDH No. 5717/0223 from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, February 5, 2009, page 45.
 Law 70, enacted in 1993, recognizes the Afro-Colombian communities’ right to collective property ownership. These communities have been settling on vacant land in the rural areas near the rivers in the Pacific basin; the right to an education suited to those communities’ needs and cultural aspirations (ethno-education); and the Afro-Colombian communities’ right to be involved in such bodies as Land Planning Councils and the Executive Boards of the Autonomous Regional Corporations.
 Hearing on the human rights situation of displaced Afro-Colombians, held on March 12, 2008 in the framework of the 131st Regular Session of the IACHR. Hearing on racial discrimination and access to justice of Afro-descendants in Colombia, held on October 23, 2008 in the framework of the 133rd Regular Session of the IACHR. http://www.cidh.org/Audiencias/seleccionar.aspx.
 According to the census conducted in 2005 by the DANE, 271,141 of Buenaventura’s population of 328,794 are Afro-descendants. DANE, 2005 Census.
 Observations on the Preliminary Report of the IACHR on the Situation of Afro-Descendants in Colombia, Note from the Office of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, dated December 1, 2008.
 Information provided by the Minister of Interior and Justice at the meeting at his office in Bogotá on November 19, 2008.