On April 30, an International Day of Solidarity with the U'wa People, representatives of the League of Indigenous Sovereign Nations (LISN), accompanied by representatives of human rights and environmental organizations, will meet with Colombian Ambassador to deliver statements denouncing the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia's (FARC) assassination of three U.S. citizens written by various indigenous, environmental and human rights groups from around the nation.
In March of this year, three U.S. citizens, Ingrid Washinawatok, Lahe'ena'e Gay and Terence Freitas were assassinated while on a mission to assist the U'wa people of Colombia. These leaders dedicated their lives to fighting for the rights of indigenous peoples and are missed by their friends, colleagues and indigenous nations worldwide.
At the meeting, indigenous leaders and representatives from environmental and human rights organizations will urge the Colombian Government to:
Carry out an immediate, comprehensive and independent investigation of the murders; and
Heed the demands of the U'wa people, including:
Cancellation by the Colombian government and Occidental of oil projects on U'wa traditional territory,
Legalization by the Colombian government of the unified Resguardo as the next step in reconstituting traditional U'wa territory,
An end to violence by all armed factions in the region.
The statements were issued by organizations and individuals since the assassinations. Identical statements will be delivered to the Occidental Petroleum Shareholders' meeting in Los Angeles, and to the Colombian Consulate in New York City.
Chief Billy Redwing Tayac, Piscataway, League of Indigenous Sovereign
Kenarahdiyoh, Mohawk, League of Indigenous Sovereign Nations (LISN)
Melina Selverston, Director, Coalition for Amazonian Peoples and Their Environment
Christina Espinel, Co-Chair, Colombia Human Rights Committee
Barbara Gerlach, Co-Chair, Colombia Human Rights Committee
Alison Giffen, Director, U.S./Colombia Coordinating Office
WHAT: Meeting with the Minister Counselor of Colombia regarding deaths of 3 indigenous rights activists in Colombia
WHEN: Friday, April 30, 1999, 11am
WHERE: Embassy of Colombia, 2118 Leroy Place, NW, Washington, D.C.
CONTACT: Dawn Devere-Hill, (301) 490-1879