Human rights watch visits the NCHR

José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch's Americas division visited the NCHR to advocate for the rights of the Wayuu people, the largest indigenous group in Colombia.

José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch's Americas division (fourth from the left) together with Professor Stener Ekern, Hilde Salvesen, Director of the NCHR International department, and students from the NCHR master's programme. 

Mr. Vivanco, who is also a general expert on Latin America, explained how the Wayuu people, at large located in the Northern part of Colombia, are suffering from malnutrition, starvation and lack of clean drinking water.

-The situation is worsening

According to Mr. Vivanco the situation has worsened dramatically the past few months, resulting in young children dying every week from malnutrition and lack of medicine. While Colombian authorities are not in denial about the worsening situation for the indigenous group, according to Mr. Vivanco, they are inadequately addressing the situation through ad-hoc initiatives. 

Mr. Vivanco is on a roundtrip in Europe to bring attention to this issue and call for Colombia, which is now in the accession process with the OECD, to implement more long-term solutions to improve the situation for the Wayuu people.

The mounting crisis of Venezuela

Mr. Vivanco also gave a brief introduction on the status of neighboring country Venezuela, currently suffering from economic and political crisis resulting in hyperinflation and plummeting currency. The Brazilian government recently decided to deploy more troops on its border with Venezuela and start relocating tens of thousands of Venezuelan who have fled into northern Brazil, a development which the Human Rights Watch director also finds particularly worrying for the region.

By Susanne Flølo
Published Feb. 16, 2018 4:19 PM - Last modified Feb. 16, 2018 4:32 PM