In response to the Colombian government’s lack of political will to respect the rights of black people in the department of Cauca, Afro-descendant communities throughout the department translated their frustration into a mass mobilization to peacefully occupy the offices of the Colombian Institute of Rural Development (INCODER) in the city of Popayan on October 31, 2013.
The initiative led by the Afro-Caucan Territorial Working Group (Mesa de Desarrollo Territorial Afrocaucana), lasted 10 days and pressured for the presence of a high-level government delegation on November 9th when finally an agreement between the parts was reached. An English version of the agreements is included in the annex to this statement, and the Afro-Caucan Territorial Working Group published a public statement that includes the original signed memorandum from the meeting.
The Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network closely monitored the developments of the INCODER occupation and will continue monitoring the implementation of the agreements. We encourage the international human rights community to do the same.
ACSN calls upon the U.S. Government, and specifically the Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion Unit of the Department of State, to monitor the implementation of the Popayan agreements as part of their responsibilities laid out in the U.S.-Colombia Racial and Ethnic Equality Action Plan.
For more information, please contact:
*The Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network (ACSN) includes TransAfrica Forum (TAF), Global Rights, Chicago Religious Leadership Network (CRLN), the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), U.S. Office on Colombia (USOC), International Working Group of PCN, Colombia Land Rights Monitor, and activists and scholars Joseph Jordan, Eunice Escobar, Ajamu Baraka, Naila Rosario, Tianna Paschel and Arturo Escobar. Peace Brigades International (PBI) serves as an international observer.