Chocò (Agenzia Fides) - The representative in Colombia of the High Commissioner of Human Rights of the United Nations, Todd Howland, Bishop of the Diocese of Quibdó, Mgr. Juan Barreto, the "Defensor del Pueblo", Jorge Armando Otàlora, and representatives of indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants, have denounced the Colombian government and the international community for the violation of human rights and the humanitarian crisis that the Chocò region of Colombia is experiencing. During the works of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, on July 8, the Bishops of the region had described the plight the area lives (see Fides 09/07/2014).
The most worrying is the amount of people fleeing from the region: in the first half of 2014, 4,000 have already left. The note sent to Fides by Caracol Radio reports the thought of Todd Howland, representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the strategy that the Colombian government should follow in order to put an end to this crisis that has forced 32,000 people to leave their land. "I believe in the importance of proposing persons within the national government with direct access to ministers - said Howland - who in turn have access to the president".
One thing is emblematic: In Chocò 80% of the population does not have drinking water or sanitation.
The Bishop of Quibdó, Mgr. Juan Barreto, has urged the national government to assist the department of Chocò in a special way: "surely the government has already made an effort to invest in the area, but the results are still not seen in the population (see Fides 09/07/2014). In Chocò illegal groups are present everywhere, illegal mining and illicit crops have increased". According to the note sent to Fides, Mgr. Barreto addressed the guerrillas directly with these words: "You have to recognize that you are a problem for the population, people consider you a menace". (CE) (Agenzia Fides 11/07/2014)