Sending Office: Honorable Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.
Sent By:
Chelsea.Grey@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

Current Signers: Johnson, Pocan, Grijalva, Haaland, McGovern

Dear Colleague,

In southern Colombia, the Andes Mountains meet the vast lowland Amazonian plains, creating a landscape of remarkable beauty and high conservation importance, and one of the world’s most biologically and culturally rich ecosystems, the Sibundoy Valley. These
lands are the ancestral territories of Inga and Kamëntsá peoples.

These indigenous groups inhabit and control the region’s rugged mountains and inaccessible areas. For many years, several indigenous communities in this region have been petitioning for an increase in their collective land tenure rights, and joined forces
with the international community, and the government to create a protective ring of indigenous reserves around the valley.

At the end of 2015, the Kamëntsá Biya Alto Sibundoy reserve was expanded by 97,290 acres, and now covers 105,000 acres including large swaths of
páramo ecosystems. At the same time, the Colón Reserve was created, giving 3,800 acres of land to the Inga people. In early 2016, the Kamëntsá-Inga reserve of San Francisco was created, totaling 42,000 acres. This was followed by the creation of the Inga
reserve of San Andrés, with an area of 33,500 acres.

These expanded reserves are helping to ensure greater ecosystem connectivity by linking discrete portions of Colombia’s National System of Protected Areas, forming conservation corridors.

In order to continue this progress toward biocultural conservation, I urge you to sign this letter to the Government of Colombia asking for the approval of the legalization of the Inga de Santiago indigenous reserve, the final push to create the ring of
indigenous reserves in the Sibundoy Valley.  

Please help us in advancing the land rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon, a fundamental factor to achieving peace, prosperity, and sustainability in Colombia., To sign, please contact Chelsea Grey (Chelsea.Grey@mail.house.gov)
in Rep. Johnson’s office, or Leslie Zelenko (Leslie.Zelenko@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Pocan’s office.

Sincerely,

Rep. Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. 

Rep. Mark Pocan

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Letter Text:

July XX, 2019

Your Excellency

IVÁN DUQUE MÁRQUEZ

President of the Republic of Colombia

Palacio de Nariño

Carrera 8 No. 7-26

Bogotá D.C. – Colombia

 

Dear President Duque,

Colombia is one of the most biodiverse and culturally rich countries in the world. In an effort to protect its beautiful natural resources, local indigenous organizations, the Colombian government and the international community have joined forces to achieve
significant advances in the territorial land rights of indigenous peoples in Colombia. Securing land rights for indigenous peoples produces social, environmental, and economic benefits for local communities and society at large.

Through these collaborations, close to two million acres (800,000 hectares) of land encompassing important ecosystems have been legally titled to indigenous communities and are now under their sustainable management. These expanded reserves are helping to
ensure greater ecosystem connectivity by linking discrete portions of Colombia’s National System of Protected Areas to form conservation corridors.

We urge you to approve the Inga de Santiago indigenous reserve, located in the headwaters of the Putumayo river to continue this progress toward biocultural conservation. These lands are vital to irrigating the Amazon region, providing water to millions
of people, and maintaining its extraordinary biodiversity. Furthermore, we ask that you abide by Article 7 of the Colombian Constitution and the 2009 Columbian Constitutional Court ruling, which ordered the Colombian government to protect 34 indigenous communities,
including the Inga, and recognize the ancestral right to their lands.

As the historical stewards of Putumayo headwater’s lands and forests, the Inga indigenous people have played a critical role in the management and sustainable use of the region’s natural resource systems. In effect, supporting their rights to land protects
the surrounding communities’ right to live in a more just, prosperous, and verdant world.

Finally, we respectfully request that you protect the land rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon, which is fundamental to achieving peace, prosperity, and sustainability in Colombia. It is imperative that you protect this at-risk community by prioritizing
sustainability and legalize the Inga de Santiago indigenous reserve of the Sibundoy Valley.

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Agriculture, Civil Rights, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Natural Resources

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