Colombian human rights experts discuss indigenous rights

CERLAC Speakers

Two prominent Colombian indigenous human rights experts will discuss Friday the growing state of emergency in that country, especially as it relates to indigenous peoples.

María Patricia Tobón Yagarí, a respected indigenous lawyer, and Deputy Justice Federico Guzmán Duque, who has extensive experience working to prevent the disproportionate impact of armed conflict and forced displacement on indigenous peoples in Colombia, will talk about indigenous rights in Colombia.

Maria Patricia Tobon Yaga, photo courtesy Amnesty International
Maria Patricia Tobon Yaga, photo by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

The talk will take place Friday, Feb. 7 at 2pm, at Osgoode Hall Law School, 1001 Ignat Kaneff Building, Keele campus. Refreshments will be provided. The talk is presented by Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean, the York Centre for Public Policy & Law, the Aboriginal Intensive and Amnesty International.

The two speakers will discuss the human rights emergency for indigenous peoples in Colombia amidst ongoing armed conflict and increasing resource extraction demands. They will also look at the role of the international community and Canada in protecting indigenous rights.

The event will be an opportunity for students to engage with pressing issues regarding the protection of indigenous rights in Colombia, and extractive industries.

María Patricia Tobón Yagarí has expertise in constitutional law, implementation of indigenous rights and conflicts involving mining and energy projects in Colombia. She currently works with the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia. She has led work to monitor the impacts of resource extraction on indigenous communities, and address violations resulting from forced displacement.

Frederico Guzman Duque
Frederico Guzman Duque

In 2012, she contributed to a study published by the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs that analyzes factors which have given rise to increasing numbers of suicides by indigenous girls in Colombia.

Federico Guzmán Duque was responsible for writing a landmark decision of Colombia’s Constitutional Court that awarded special measures to protect 34 distinct Indigenous nations determined to be at risk of “physical and cultural extermination”. He has worked at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and currently works in the Council of State.