Barí and Yukpa are hunter-gatherers living in the forested mountain range on the border with Colombia. Barí now number only around 1,000.
Lack of official land titles makes Barí and Yukpa vulnerable to usurpation by state-controlled coal and oil companies as well as landowners and logging concerns. Open-cast mining, which is in contravention of national law, causes widespread pollution and devastation.
In 2013, Yukpa Chief Sabino Romero was murdered. Romero was at the head of the campaign to reclaim Yukpa ancestral lands in the Perijá Mountains. In this campaign, Yukpa are using their rights established in the 2001 Constitution in order to recover their ancestral lands that have gradually been taken by cattle ranchers, drug traffickers and members of the armed resistance group FARC from nearby Colombia. While the murderer, a contracted killer, as well as a number of police accomplices eventually received a prison sentence, Romero’s supporters continue to call for justice for the ranchers they believe commissioned the attack.
Updated December 2017
Minorities and indigenous peoples in