...to describe the armed thugs driving hundreds of thousands of people from their homes as businesses hunt for precious minerals.
The study, due out tomorrow, was organised by ABColombia, a project backed by five charities who operate in the country, including the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund. It focuses on the Colombian government’s rapid expansion of its economy based on the mining of coal, gold and copper.
Their goals for 2021 are to double coal exports, quadruple gold and triple the mining sector. ABColombia say 35 per cent of Colombian territory is at risk from mining and 64 groups of indigenous people, including the Awa, face extinction.
And they say about 40 per cent of Colombia’s drinking water is at risk of contamination.
The Awa were hunter-gatherers who moved around south-western Colombia. But the size of land they have access to has greatly reduced.
Guevara said: “The campesinos have spent decades caring for the land and reforesting it. All of this will be destroyed with mining.”
Awa leader Alex Guanga Nastacuas, who also visited Scotland, said: “The grave situation is the contamination of rivers and the destruction of areas local families use for their crops.
“Illegal armed groups take Awa children away to fight once they are 12 years old. The Awa are at risk of extinction.”
The plight of Colombia’s indigenous people comes on top of the 5.5million
people SCIAF say have been forced from their home because of civil war and drug related violence.