Press Release

IACHR Condemns Murder of Armando Guanga Nastacuas in Colombia

December 21, 2011

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder in Colombia of Armando Guanga Nastacuas, a member of the Awá indigenous peoples and beneficiary of precautionary measures granted by the IACHR on March 16, 2011.

The available information indicates that on December 2, 2011, two unidentified individuals allegedly attacked and kidnapped Armando Guanga Nastacuas in the Corregimiento of Llorente, in the town of Tumaco. The information received indicates that hours later he was found unconscious and with blows to the head, and that he died the following day at the hospital.

Armando Guanga Nastacuas was beneficiary of precautionary measures granted by the IACHR on March 16, 2011, in favor of the members of the Awá indigenous peoples of the departments of Nariño and Putumayo, Colombia. The information taken into consideration for granting these measures indicated that the Awá people had been the target of numerous attacks, murders, and threats in the context of the armed conflict in Colombia. The Inter-American Commission requested that the State of Colombia adopt measures, agreed upon with the beneficiaries, to guarantee the life and physical integrity of the members of the Awá indigenous people of the departments of Nariño and Putumayo. On November 3, 2011, the IACHR requested the State to strengthen the precautionary measures in favor of the Awá people, given the informaton that indicated that since the granting, five beneficiaries had been killed in the context of the armed conflict. It was also alleged that there were delays in the implementation of the precautionary measures, as well as of the 2009 order of the Constitutional Court of Colombia, through which the Constitutional Court had ordered the Government to design and implement an urgent plan of reaction and contingency to immediately and integrally respond to the most urgent needs of physical security, humanitarian help in health, education, lodging, and any other urgent measure necessary to ensure the survival of the Awá people, among other aspects.

The Inter-American Commission views the death of Armando Guanga Nastacuas as extremely serious, especially taking into account the precautionary measures in force granted by the IACHR and the situation of threats, harassment and killings that the Awa people have been suffering. The IACHR reiterates its concern on the situation of insecurity of indigenous peoples who live in the regions affected by the armed conflict and calls on the State to urgently adopt the necessary measures to protect them. The IACHR calls to mind that it is the State's obligation to take the initiative to investigate this crime and to punish those responsible. The IACHR also calls on the State to immediately adopt all necessary measures to guarantee the right to life, integrity, and security of the other beneficiaries of these measures.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.


No. 132/11