Strengthening territorial rights of Indigenous Peoples in Colombia

In Colombia there are 115 Indigenous Peoples’ groups, broadly represented by five national organisations, covering 28 of the country's 32 departments. These groups represent a social base of almost 2 million people. In the country, there are currently 36 million of hectares of titled indigenous land, comprising 31.5% of the national territory.

Ongoing

From: 15/04/2020

To: 30/09/2022

Budget: $1,488,300

Proponents: the Indigenous Technical Secretary of the National Commission of Indigenous Territories (CNTI)
Association of Arhuacas Authorities of the Sierra Nevada (ASO-CIT)

Beneficiaries: This proposal directly benefits 5 Indigenous organisations at the national level, translating to 102 Indigenous Peoples communities, whose social base brings together at least 1,982,774 people.

Indigenous Peoples and Afro-Descendant communities have for generations had strong ancestral, cultural, and economic relationships with their territories. However, abandonment by the state, disputes over territorial control by legal and illegal armed groups, the presence of illegal economies, the emergence of intra- and inter-ethnic conflicts and rampant human rights’ violations have seen these same communities systematically stripped of their lands by powerful political and economic actors, further entrenching marginalisation and exclusion, and threatening their physical and cultural survival.

Despite the existence of a constitutional framework which in theory protects diversity, autonomy and territorial rights, in reality, the application of these rights has been patchy at best, and sometimes non-existent.

The Tenure Facility’s partners, the Indigenous Technical Secretary of the National Indigenous Territories Commission (STI-CNTI), have identified several structural obstacles to the better implementation of territorial rights for Indigenous Peoples in Colombia, which include urgently needed reforms to the land registration process overseen by the National Land Agency (ANT): until recently information on the content of land titling applications to ANT has not been made available to communities, making it almost impossible to track their progress or overcome obstacles. Files have gone missing and some applications have faced unexplained delays of more than 20 years.

A lack of education at a community level has led to widespread ignorance of rights, procedures, laws and rules surrounding the process, and Indigenous Peoples have had few trusted information systems to turn to, in order to better understand how to exercise and defend their rights.

This project aims to tackle these deficiencies by providing a model for unblocking applications to the ANT, and building capacity at a community level to be able to better exercise and defend their land rights

To read a brief overview of Colombia, click here.

For a timeline of land and forest rights in Colombia, click here.

photo by CNTI

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