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Urgent Actions

URGENT ACTION: DETENTION OF INDIGENOUS AUTHORITY FELICIANO VALENCIA

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URGENT ACTION

DECISION BY COURT IN POPAYAN TO ORDER DETENTION OF FELICIANO VALENCIA IS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED

We human rights organisations, the social and political movement, students and trade unions of southwest Colombia have worked hand in hand with FELICIANO VALENCIA and we demand his immediate release. We also demand that a disciplinary investigation be initiated against the arbitrary action of the judicial system officials who have waged a prolonged campaign against Feliciano. We express our complete solidarity with Feliciano, and our recognition of his strength, bravery and wisdom. We also express our complete solidarity with our sister indigenous organisations Asociacion de Cabildos Indigenas del Norte del Cauca (ACIN) and the Consejo Regional Indigena del Cauca (CRIC). From all around the southwest region ready for whatever protest actions may be needed to achieve Feliciano’s freedom.

FELICIANO VALENCIA is an indigenous leader

FELICIANO VALENCIA is an indigenous leader from the Asociacion de Cabildos Indigenas del Norte del Cauca (ACIN), and was a councillor of the Consejo Regional Indigena del Cauca between 2007 and 2009. He was spokesperson of the social movement Alliance la Minga de Resistencia Social y Comunitaria, and also it’s successor the Congreso de los Pueblos. He is recognised as a ‘master of traditional knowledge’ by UNESCO, and is one of the most distinguished social movement leaders of the 21st century in Colombia. He is recognised nationally and internationally for his extensive knowledge of ethnic rights, his important contribution to advances in indigenous legislation, and his protagonist role in regional and national debates between social movements and Colombian ex-presidents Andres Pastrana and Alvaro Uribe Velez, and current president Juan Manuel Santos.

In recent years Feliciano has led countless public protests and campaign actions, which gave rise to negotiations and agreements with the government. Feliciano has been vociferous in demonstrating how the government has not complied with these agreements, and arguing that the Colombian state has a historic debt towards the social movements, communities and peoples. He has been invited to conferences, forums and to universities around the country to present the vision of peace of the indigenous movement and social movements, where he has outlined the proposal of construction of community-led, transformative peace which is inclusive and participative.

Because of his frank and uncompromising attitude in demanding respect for the collective rights of communities, he has suffered serious security threats against him, which have increased with his leadership in social protests against genocide and state abandonment of communities.

In his role as representative of indigenous authorities, Feliciano has exposed the responsibility of state and other armed groups’ in violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in indigenous territories.

THE FACTS

  • Feliciano Valencia was arrested on 15th September 2015 in La Augustina, Cauca, after having participated in an indigenous education event in the city of Popayan
  • His detention was ordered by the Tribunal Superior court in Popayan, which overruled a previous ruling which had found Feliciano innocent in the case which had been illegitimately pursued against him
  • This ruling violates the Colombian constitution, and the special indigenous legal jurisdiction which makes up part of what is defined in the constitution as a multi-ethnic, pluricultural rule of law system.
  • Feliciano Valencia has suffered constant persecution, harassment and threats, to the point that the Colombian state has classified his situation as high risk and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights has ordered precautionary measures from the Colombian government to protect his life. Numerous international organisations have regularly spoken out over the risk to Feliciano, demanding protection for him and his family.

BACKGROUND:

On 10 April 2009, Feliciano Valencia was arrested at Cali airport when he was about to board a plane destined for Brazil, then on to Bolivia to participate in a regional forum of social movements. Feliciano was to represent the Minga de Resistencia Social y Comunitaria at the event. The capture was ordered by a judge in Piendamo, Cauca, who charged Feliciano with kidnapping and assault. These charges related to an incident in 2008, when along with 6000 other indigenous community members, Feliciano participated in the judgement of JAIRO DANILO CHAPARRAL SANTIAGO, a soldier from the Brigada Móvil No.2 del Batallón de Contra Guerrilla. The soldier had infiltrated the ongoing mobilisations, in order to act as an agent provocateur and to realise intelligence activities against the indigenous authorities and community members. During this process under the indigenous legal jurisidiction, human rights organisations, state human rights institutions, and national and international media were present.

On 22 October 2009, Feliciano Valencia received a death threat via a fax which also identified trade unions and human rights organisations as targets, signed by the Aguilas Negras paramilitary group.

On 9 December 2010, Feliciano received a death threat to his mobile pone, again from the Aguilas Negras paramiltary group.

On 16 August 2012, Feliciano received a death threat via a leaflet which was distributed in Santander de Quilichao, Cauca. This time the threat was signed by the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (paramilitaries).

WE DEMAND:

  • The immediate release of Feliciano
  • A disciplinary investigation into the officials who ordered his arrest
  • [Colombia Solidarity Campaign adds:] If you are in the UK, please write to the Colombian embassy at egranbretana@cancilleria.gov.co, expressing concern over Feliciano’s detention and quoting this statement from Colombian human rights organisations and social movements.

ASOCIACION NOMADESC

MOVICE-VALLE DEL CAUCA

PCN-PALENQUE REGIONAL EL CONGAL

ASOAGROS-CNA

CORPORACION SEMBRAR

DH-COLOMBIA

SINTRAUNICOL- SUBDIRECTIVA VALLE

FUNDESCODES – BUENAVENTURA

CONGRESO DE LOS PUEBLOS-VALLE

COMITÉ DE SOLIDARIDAD CON PRESOS POLITICOS

MUJERES CORTERAS DE LA CAÑA

ASOCIACION DE MUJERES Y HOMBRES DE TRIANA

COMITÉ INTERORGANIZACIONAL DE BUENAVENTURA

COMITÉ CIVICO POR LA DEFENSA Y DIGNIDAD DE BUENAVENTURA

UNIVERSIDAD INTERCULTURAL DE LOS PUEBLOS

MINGA SOCIAL Y COMUNITARIA

CAMPAÑA PROHIBIDO OLVIDAR

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