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UA 087/15
Abgeschlossen am 26. Mai 2015

Indigenous leader killed, other leaders at risk

AI-Index: AMR 23/1448/2015

An Indigenous leader who was monitoring artisanal mining was killed in the Cañamomo Lomaprieta Indigenous Reservation in central Colombia. Many other Indigenous leaders from the Reservation have been threatened and their safety remains at risk.

On 7 April, Indigenous leader Fernando Salazar Calvo was shot dead by an unidentified gunman in the Cañamomo Lomaprieta Indigenous Reservation (Resguardo Indígena), Caldas Department. He was the president of the Association of Miners of La Union and a board member of the Association of Artisanal Miners of the Cañamomo Lomaprieta Indigenous Reservation (Asociación de Mineros Artesanales del Resguardo Indigena Cañamomo Lomaprieta, ASOMICARS) in Ríosucio and Supía Municipalities, Caldas Department. Fernando Salazar Calvo and many other Indigenous leaders, including Carlos Eduardo Gómez Restrepo, the Indigenous governor of Cañamomo Lomaprieta, and Fabio Moreno Herrera, the president of ASOMICARS, have repeatedly been threatened. In November 2014 the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman had issued a risk report warning that there were concerns for the safety of the Cañamomo Lomoprieta Indigenous community.

Fernando Salazar Calvo and other Indigenous leaders had been monitoring artisanal mining activities in the Indigenous Reservation, and closing such activities down when these were deemed not to be in line with the ancestral practice and the recommendations and resolutions of the Indigenous Cabildo, which is the highest Indigenous political authority within their territory. Multinational extractive industries have been seeking to develop mining operations in the area and illegal armed actors have also expressed an interest in developing mining operations in the area. There have been reports of the presence of paramilitaries and guerrillas in the area.


Over the past 50 years, Colombia’s internal armed conflict has pitted the security forces and paramilitaries against a range of guerrilla groups. In spite of the ongoing peace process all the warring parties continue to be responsible for serious crimes under international law and other human rights violations. Indigenous communities are among those most affected by the conflict. According to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia, ONIC), 10 Indigenous people were killed for conflict-related reasons and at least 2,819 forcibly displaced in the first nine months of 2014.

The Cañamomo Lomaprieta Indigenous Reservation (Resguardo Indígena), located in the municipalities of Ríosucio and Supía in Caldas Department, was established in the 1700s at the time of Spanish colonialism. Embera Chami Indigenous people have been living in the area for centuries. The Indigenous Cabildo of Cañamomo Lomaprieta has been regulating mining in their territory, for example by prohibiting the use of substances which would be harmful to the environment or the access or investment by people who are not part of their community.

Name: Fernando Salazar Calvo (m), Carlos Eduardo Gómez Restrepo (m), Fabio Moreno Herrera (m), and other Indigenous leaders in the Cañamomo Lomaprieta Indigenous Reservation

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