Institute for International
Cooperation and Development Studies

The Basque Committee for collaboration with Colombia condemns the murder of the indigenous guard William Andrés Vargas Piamba

Date: 2023 May 18

In view of the acts of violence that have taken place since 3 May in the municipalities of Caldono and Jambaló, in the Cauca Department, the Basque Committee for collaboration with Colombia, as a platform for coordination and dialogue between governmental, institutional and social actors in the Basque Country to support the construction of peace in Colombia:

Condemns the murder of the indigenous guard William Andrés Vargas Piamba, 22 years of age, in circumstances in which he was carrying out humanitarian support work at the request of the traditional authorities of the communities of the Pioya and Jambaló territories.  Two years ago, in April 2021, Sandra Liliana Peña Chocué, governor of the La Laguna Siberia Indigenous Reservation, was also murdered in the municipality of Caldono. This municipality, where these murders have taken place, is a high-risk territory for people who clearly defend human rights, with a current upsurge in violence.

So far this year, with the death of the indigenous guard William Vargas, 11 social leaders have been assassinated in the Cauca Department.

Expresses solidarity with the forced displacement of 39 students and rejects the actions of armed groups in the territories of the Cauca who continue to harass the communities, indigenous and Afro-descendant organisations and social organisations of the Cauca Department in their efforts to advance towards a real and stable peace in Colombia.

Supports the Political and Social Humanitarian Minga for the Defence of Life, Territory and Total Peace, held from 26 to 29 April in Caldono, Cauca, in view of the persistent acts of violence perpetrated by armed groups in the region and the government’s efforts to promote Total Peace in the country.

Urges all the actors represented to put their efforts and resources into the search for solutions to the conflict, strengthening the peoples’ own governments in their aim to achieve “good living”, and appeals to the armed actors to allow the implementation of humanitarian measures to protect the lives of the population at risk and to respect human rights in these territories.

Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country), 16 May 2023.