Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

Argentina: Current information on abuses committed against the Kolla

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 June 1993
Citation / Document Symbol ARG14116
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Argentina: Current information on abuses committed against the Kolla, 1 June 1993, ARG14116, available at: [accessed 27 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


In addition to the attached articles referring to indigenous people in Argentina without specific reference to the Kolla ethnic group (also spelled Colla in some documents), the information that follows was provided by the head of a newly organized agency of the government of Argentina called Instituto Nacional de Asuntos Indígenas (National Institute of Indigenous Affairs) (8 June 1993).

The Kollas inhabit a large expanse of land in Jujuy province bordering the province of Salta and Bolivia. A large number of Kollas also live in Bolivia, where they constitute a larger percentage of the national population, and many Bolivian and Argentine Kollas move frequently and virtually unrestricted across the national borders. The Kollas are the most developed of the Argentine indigenous groups, although they are economically and socially disadvantaged in comparison to the majority of the population of Argentina. This situation was recently highlighted when Kolla areas were affected by a cholera epidemic that started in Peru a few years ago. Although cholera has not resurfaced in the Kolla's region, their economic and social situation has not changed much over the last few years. The current government of Argentina recently established a policy of promoting the development of the indigenous people in Argentina and has created a fund (the Fondo Indígena) to finance local development initiatives and other projects.

According to the source, the main problem currently faced by the Kolla is the controversy over land. Since the indigenous people have historically regarded land as a common good, they have never held titles of ownership to the land they inhabit. For centuries they have been pressured or displaced from their territories, and today they find themselves without a legally valid document accrediting their rights to the land. Land claims and conflicts are being discussed and solutions sought, but the resources available and the remoteness and expanse of the territory make it difficult to reach quick solutions.

The head of the National Institute of Indigenous Affairs also stated that to the best of his knowledge, there have been no recent cases of violent mistreatment or abuse against the Kolla people. The law guarantees equality for all Argentines, regardless of their ethnicity. The Kolla region has many localities in which the local government is headed by members of the Kolla ethnic group, the province of Salta has a number of indigenous representatives in the provincial legislature, and at least one indigenous representative has been elected to the nation's congress. A staff member of the non-government Fundación Aborigen of Argentina stated that his organization had no reports of recent cases of violent mistreatment or abuse of Kollas, and added that a proposed expropriation of land in Kolla territory is one of the main concerns of the Kolla people at present (9 June 1993). The source has offered to forward a summary of current information on the Kolla of Argentina before 19 June 1993. Should this information arrive at the DIRB before that date, it will be immediately forwarded to you and filed with this Response.

Two Kolla organizations in Argentina, the Centro Kolla in Buenos Aires and the Indianista de los Pueblos Kollas in Jujuy, could not be reached by telephone in time to meet the deadline of your request.

Additional and/or corroborating information on the requested subject could not be found among the sources currently available to the DIRB.


Fundación Aborigen, Buenos Aires. 9 June 1993. Telephone Interview with Staff Member.

Instituto Nacional de Asuntos Indígenas, Buenos Aires. 8 June 1993. Telephone Interview with Head of Institute.


Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 13 May 1993. "Church: Argentina," p. 8.

. 17 May 1990. Mariano Sotelo. "Argentina: Indigenous Want Change," p. 6.

World Directory of Minorities. Minority Rights Group. 1990. London: Longman Group UK Ltd., p. 50 and unnumbered map of South America.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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