Letter to President of Colombia from BCGEU

September 30, 2015


President Juan Manuel Santos
Casa de Narino 
Carrera 8 No. 7-26 
Bogota D.C. Columbia

Dear Mr. President

I am writing to express my concern over the detention of Feliciano Valencia on September 15, 2015 in La Augustina, Cauca. Mr. Valencia was detained after participating in an indigenous education event the city of Popayan. His detention was ordered by the Tribunal Superior court in Popayan, which overturned a previous ruling that had found Mr. Valencia innocent of charges of kidnapping and assault laid in April 2009. This latest ruling violates the Colombian Constitution, and the special indigenous legal jurisdiction which makes up part of what is defined in the constitution as a multi-ethnic, pluri- cultural rule of law system.

I understand that Mr. Valencia is an indigenous leader from the Asociación de Cabildos Indigenas del Norte del Cauca, and is recognized nationally and internationally for his knowledge of ethnic rights and his contributions to advances in indigenous legislation. I also understand that he has led countless protests and campaign actions for the collective rights of communities.

Furthermore, I understand that Mr. Valencia has suffered ongoing persecution, harassment and threats, and that the Colombian state has classified his situation as high risk, and that the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights has ordered precautionary measures from the Colombian government to protect his life.

I respectfully request that:

1. Feliciano Valencia be released immediately.
2. A disciplinary investigation be held into the officials who ordered his arrest.

Thank you very much for your attention to this urgent matter.


Stephanie Smith 
President, BC Government Employees Union


  • Sr. Eduardo Montealegre Lynett, Fiscal General de la Nación,
  • Sr. Jorge Armando Otáloro Gómez, Defensor del Pueblo,
  • Sr. Germán Vargas Lleras, Vicepresidente de la República
  • Sr. Luis Carlos Villegas, Ministro de Defensa
  • Sr. Juan Fernando Cristo, Ministro del Interior
  • Sr. Nicolás Lloreda Ricaurte, Ambassador for Colombia in Canada
  • CoDevelopment Canada