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Colombia apologises to indigenous people

The Colombian government has apologised to the country’s indigenous communities for the devastation caused by the Amazon rubber boom around a hundred years ago.

Civil groups say up to 100,000 people were killed when a Peruvian company, backed by the Colombian government, caused devastation while harvesting rubber from 1912 to 1929.

The crimes committed include slavery, torture, extra judicial killings and torture.

President Juan Manuel Santos asked for forgiveness "for all the dead and their orphans" and said that the government at the time "failed to understand the importance of safeguarding each indigenous person and culture as an essential part of a society we now understand as multi-ethnic and multicultural."

The apology was issued on the Day of Race, when the arrival of Christopher Columbus is commemorated in Latin America.

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