Displacement and the search for a dignified life

At the end of 2014, the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP) started accompanying the Wounaan community of Union Agua Clara (in a rural area near Buenaventura on the banks of the river San Juan, which marks the division between the jungles of Valle del Cauca and Choco). They had been forcefully displaced to Buenaventura’s port because of the armed conflict: the presence of illegal armed groups, the military actions, and because they live in a strategic corridor for trafficking illicit substances. They sought refuge in the city’s coliseum, where they lived for over a year in precarious conditions.[1]

Stories from the field: Towards a dignified return?


In November 2015, they returned to the lands they had declared a Humanitarian and Biodiverse Territory, in the hope that they could remain there in peace.[2] Upon their return they found a desolate village, the homes were empty and their crops were lost. Soon after they returned, the threats from neo-paramilitary groups started again and because of the lack of security and guarantees for them to live in dignified conditions, some of the community went back to Buenaventura,[3] where they have been unable to escape the insecurity and violence that characterise the city.[4]


[1] CIJP: Situación de desplazamiento Comunidad indígena Wounaan, 26 December 2014
[2] El País: Así fue el retorno de los más de 200 indígenas Wounaan a sus territorios, 10 December 2015
[3] CIJP: Desplazamiento de comunidad Woaunaan unión agua clara, 9 December
[4] Radio Macondo: Asesinato desplazamiento y niños muertos en la comunidad Woaunaan, 26 May 2016

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