An International Communique from the Association of Traditional U’WA Authorities

U'wa Communique

For more information, contact:

Paul Paz y Miño, +1.510.281.9020 x302 or paz@amazonwatch.org


Kerachikara, Sacred U’WA Territory, Colombia -

For thousands of years the U’wa people have lived in territories known today as the Departments of Casanare, Arauca, Boyaca, Santander and North of Santander, Colombia. This gives us the right to demand that the Colombian government and multinational oil corporations fully recognize and respect our territory, as well as all resources that belong to us – all of which are recognized as ours by the National Constitution and national and international laws.

The U’wa people have consistently reiterated that we will not give up our ancient rights to the interests of the state and multinational companies. In Colombia we have exhausted all existing legal channels to solve the conflict between the U’wa and Occidental Petroleum. None of our efforts in Colombia have produced the necessary measures needed to respect the rights of the U’wa people.

Because the Colombian government has not recognized our rights as a distinct people, we have been obliged to reach out to the national and international community (governments, environmental and human rights organizations, and indigenous peoples – all who work for life and peace). They have, without restraint, joined our cause.

The lack of recognition and violation by the Colombian government and multinational corporations (ie. Occidental) of the historical rights and heritage of the U’wa people forces us to demand the following:

DEMANDS

1. We reaffirm the demand of the U’wa people for the cancellation of oil activities in our ancestral territory.

2. We express the urgent need for the recuperation of our land, to which we have a right, in order to guarantee life. The Colombian government should promise to enlarge the existing reserve and to respect our ancestral territories.

3. We reaffirm that for the U’wa, our territory, natural resources and our people are not objects to be negotiated. They should be respected according the laws of nature.

OBJECTIVES

1. Consolidate international solidarity in support of our just cause for territory, culture, and oral history.

2. Demonstrate with concrete examples the destructive processes that oil activities such as Oxy’s bring to our people and our environment.

3. Demonstrate that the model of development promoted by the U’wa people is an alternative for all humanity that will guarantee the life of this planet under the principles of sustainable development.

ROBERTO PEREZ GUTIERREZ

President of the Traditional U’wa Council

ROBERTO AFANADOR COBARIA BERITO KUBARUWA

Official Delegate of the Traditional U’wa Authorities

JAVIER VESGA FLOREZ

Advisor to the Traditional U’wa Council

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