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2020 Americas Regional Award Winner

2020 Americas Regional Award Winner
Guardia Indigéna de Cauca, Colombia

The Indigenous Guard of Cauca - Kiwe Thegnas (Defenders of Life and Territory), member of the organization Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del Norte del Cauca (ACIN), CRIC branch, is a community life and ancestral resistance composed of women, men, boys and girls who defend their territories in a peaceful, unarmed way. It was created in the violent region of Cauca in southwestern Colombia, and in 2001 began operating as an organised collective.

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The majority of the indigenous guards belong to the Nasa indigenous group, which is the largest and most organised, and they have trained other communities throughout Colombia over the years to defend their own territories. Their communities have been subjected to multiple forms of violence resulting from the presence of armed actors, the drug trafficking economy and multinational exploitation. Among its many activities, the Guard carries out collective protection actions with its communities, gives talks on awareness raising and peace, tours their territories, gives humanitarian protection for child victims of armed actions, rescues injured people in the context of warfare under the framework of humanitarian action, carries out training on anti-personnel mines (ERM), and organises relief actions for communities that have been massively displaced from their lands. Because of its role, the Indigenous Guard has been subjected to multiple attacks from different actors who seek to break the peaceful resistance of the communities they represent.

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Guardia Indigéna de Cauca