August 9th marked World Indigenous Day which each year looks to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous populations. This year CAFOD looked at highlighting the problems and challenges faced by the Awá from Columbia.

The Awá are facing a grave humanitarian and human rights crisis in Colombia’s most conflict-ridden regions (Photo: CAFOD)

The Awá were originally hunter-gatherers who moved around large areas of south-western Colombia. Over time, and with the encroachment of non-indigenous settlers, the area of land the Awá have access to has been greatly reduced forcing them to defend their ancestral lands by obtaining legal documents to prove their ownership.

CAFOD, through our partner Caritas Columbia (SNPS), has been lobbying on behalf of the Awá. And in February this year 150 Awá families obtained restitution of 127 hectares of their land in Ricaurte in the south of Nariño. These families are now receiving support to help them to set up water and sanitation systems, construct housing and begin to generate an income once again. But there is still much work to do to assist other Awá groups in the land restitution processes.

For more information on this and other stories from World Indigenous Day visit the CAFOD website – or watch related films on CAFODTV’s YouTube channel 

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