BOGOTA ( Associated Press) — The Nucak, who were the last nomadic hunter-gatherer people in Colombia, have come into contact with Western society with their children and infringing poverty. In recent days, dozens of complaints of sexual violence against indigenous girls have raised concerns in Guaviare, in the south of the country.
On Thursday, the government declared focusing on indigenous minors a “priority interest”, noting that 69 cases of sexual violence against girls from the Nukak and Jive indigenous communities, peoples declared “endangered” over the past four years Is. in Colombia.
Sexual violence is nothing new, but the situation has to be in focus. The state activated its capabilities last December after a Univision investigation revealed how civilians and soldiers in Guaviare forced minors to have sex in exchange for food, a few dollars or chemical glue, called “boxers” in Colombia. did. Avoid feeling high and hungry.
After sending a special commission, the Presidency on Thursday concluded that there are reports related to inhalation of gum or consumption of psychoactive substances. He warned that the food crisis they are facing leads children to leave their indigenous territory in search of food, which “are taken advantage of by potential micro-trafficking and human trafficking networks in the region. ”
The government does not rule out the possible presence in the area of ”networks for the sexual and commercial exploitation of children and adolescents”.
The prosecutor’s office, for its part, will verify what happened to the 378 cases of sexual violence registered between 2018 and 2020 in Guaviare by the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, a state institution that takes care of children. The prosecutor’s office warned that it could initiate criminal proceedings against the officials for default if it is found that they did not complete the process to activate the investigation.
“Sexual violence has long been around and exists around us because exposure to Western society has made many of our girls vulnerable to structural issues such as poverty and education,” Yomari Avendaño Pascual told The Associated Press. , Indigenous women and affairs advisor on women and family issues for the Indigenous organization ONIC.
Avendaño assured that for years he worked with Nook in Guevare and he himself became aware of the complaint of sexual violence. However, it states that there are victims who do not want to testify because of intimidation or because they are unaware of the Colombian penal system.
It is estimated that the Nukaq ceased to be an isolated people in the 1970s and 1980s, when illegal coca leaf cultivation in Guaviare became a business.
Avendaño assures that there are still nomadic Nukak who make their journeys to hunt, however, he says that they are losing their territory due to the incursions of illegal armed groups. Previous generations are “born into poverty, they don’t have access to basic services, drinking water, energy …”.
The attorney general’s office, which also sent a special mission to the region, warned that there is a “total absence of the state” and identified psychotropic substances, prostitution and neglect of the basic needs of minors. The attorney general’s office is also pursuing disciplinary proceedings against six soldiers for the alleged rape of a minor under the age of 15 from the Nukak community that took place in September 2019.
Cristina Rogero, counseling attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights for Latin America and the Caribbean, told the Associated Press that it is important for the government to protect the rights of indigenous children and stressed that with continued complaints, civil society organizations have responded to the situation. warned about. Guevare and called for the “normalization” of sexual violence against children.