Caught in the Crossfire: Colombia’s Indigenous Peoples

Colombia is a country rich in cultural diversity with 1.4 million indigenous people maintaining strong cultural, economic and spiritual ties to their land. The intensity of Colombia’s armed conflict in their territories and economic interests vying for geostrategic and economic control has forced thousands of indigenous people out of their territories. Their refusal to take sides in Colombia’s longstanding internal conflict has led to indigenous peoples being accused by all parties in the conflict of ‘siding with the enemy’, thus making them the target for violent abuses and killings by all armed groups. In 2009, the number of killings of indigenous people rose by 63 per cent compared to 2008.

Indigenous Community in the Sierra Nevada.

This report explores the impact the Colombian conflict has had on indigenous people. It also analyses the role British and European companies have played in this context, and contains a number of recommendations to the British and Colombian governments.