ARHUACOS PEOPLES – Human Rights Legal Support
Sierra Nevada Mountains, Colombia
Arhuacos Indigenous Community
The Arhuacos are a tribe of approximately 46,000 people who make their home in different parts of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Columbia. They still maintain their ancient customs and traditions and preserve a “millennium cosmology” which aims to keep a balance with the elements of nature and man.
Inti Raymi’s Project
This project will be made in collaboration with the Arhuacos. Their territory covers an area roughly 195,000 hectares (753 sq. miles) of land of which, only 12% to 20% of it is used for agricultural purposes. The rest of their territory is dedicated to the conservation and protection of water sources, deserts, biological corridors and sacred ceremonial sites. These lands are also used for the production of materials related to their cultural practices such as mochilas, a type of handwoven bag.
The Inti Raymi Fund will be used for the legal defense of the “Black Line Issue”. This Black Line limits the traditional territory of the Arhuacos of the Sierra de Santa Marta and this area is in imminent risk of acquisition by the development of mining activities and the expansion of the Columbian highway system. The autonomous corporation of the Cesar and Magdelena Governmental Institutions are in charge of the environmental regulation in Columbia and they have approved 75 licenses for the development of mining activities with an absolute disregard for the requirement for free, prior and informed consultation with the Arhuacos as set forth in the UNDRIP. Inti Raymi will contribute funds for legal representation for the Arhuacos to fight this incursion into their lands.
The idea of a collaboration with the Arhuacos occurred in 2005 as a result of contacts between former members of the CODAP (a Swiss organization) and the Arhuaco during “The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the UN” in Geneva. Since then, two visits have been made by members of the CQF (a Canadian organization) and Jwawika (a Swiss organization) in the winter and summer of 2011. The aim of these visits was to make a draft, with the political organization of the Arhuacos – the Confederación Indígena Tayrona (CIT) setting forth the 2012 training on the rights of Indigenous Peoples for young leaders of the Arhuacos. The goal of the Colombian Project was to achieve a10day training on the protection and promotion of Indigenous Peoples Rights for the defense of their territory. The training was held in Simonorwa – southeast of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta – from July 1020, 2012.
The Inti Raymi Fund became aware of the Arhuacos Peoples while attending the World Conference of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The Inti Raymi Fund provided a $25,000 Grant into Arhuacos Community for the above aforementioned Human Rights Project.
Start Date: January, 2014
Completion Date: Ongoing
Funded so far: $25,000 USD
Total Project: $25,000 USD
Lives Affected: 46,000
Chimu, Norey, Paola & Cyril, Josée, Chaski