• Indigenous peoples in Colombia

    Indigenous peoples in Colombia

    The indigenous population in Colombia is estimated at 1,500,000 inhabitants, or 3.4 per cent of the total population. Along with many campesinos and Afro-Colombian, many indigenous peoples in the country continue to struggle with forced displacement and landlessness as a result of the long term armed conflict in Colombia.
  • Peoples

    3.4 per cent of Colombia’s total population are indigenous peoples
  • Rights

    2009: Colombia adopts the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Challenges

    Along with many campesinos and Afro-Colombian, many indigenous peoples continue to be displaced and landless as a result of the long term armed conflict in Colombia.
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  • Colombia: Indigenous movement says YES to peace

Colombia: Indigenous movement says YES to peace

The Colombian indigenous movement recommends voting yes to end 52 years of a civil war that has cost more than 250.000 lives and displaced around 6,5 million people out of a 49 million population.

Living in remote parts of the national territory, Colombia’s approximately 1,5 million indigenous peoples have been heavily affected by the war. Many indigenous territories have been used by both sides of the conflict as battlefields, refuges and fields for illicit cultivation of coca, which has financed the operations of both the guerrilla and paramilitary groups.

The Peace Agreement was officially signed on 26 September by Colombian President Juan Manual Santos and Farc´s Commander in Chief, Rodrigo Londoño “Timochenko”, who agreed to continue to disagree on the country’s economic development model, but now with words instead of bombs and bullets.

If confirmed by today’s referendum, peace is expected to pave the way for an increase in foreign investments and economic growth rates. Given the current neoliberal and extractivist model for economic development, peace could potentially pose another danger to the territorial control and environmental well being of indigenous peoples.

For indigenous peoples in Colombia, an end to the armed conflict is only the first step to regain control over their territories, which remain threatened by mining and oil extraction and related problems of water shortage and contamination.

In the very final days of the peace negotiations in Havana, indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples achieved to include an "ethnic chapter into the Peace Agreement. It guarantees their constitutional and internationally recognised rights and defines safeguards, including their right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent and participation in the implementation of the peace agreement.

At its forthcoming congress from 8-14 October, the national indigenous movement, ONIC, will discuss how to strengthen indigenous peoples´ territorial autonomy and unity in a (hopefully) post conflict era.



IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. Read The Indigenous World.

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