Colombia Solidarity Campaign

- Fighting for Peace with Justice -

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Urgent Action - Tolima

Original in Spanish: https://comiteambiental.com/comunicado-la-opinion-publica-nacional-e-internacional/

On 3 June in the department of Tolima over 120,000 people mobilised for the 8th Great Carnival March. In the departments of Caquetá and Quindío there were also cultural demonstrations against large scale mining projects (part of the Colombian government pro-mining policy known as the Mining Locomotive).

In a peaceful, cheerful, cultural but firm manner, we rejected the national government’s dictatorial imposition of an economic model based on extraction, the spread of which would affect the right to water of those of us living in this land of Colombia, and of future generations.

Our slogans, which call for the guarantee of the right to water, to a healthy environment, but above all the universal right to life of human beings and nature in general, continue to lead to persecution and stigmatisation, not only by the government, but also by armed groups that wish to perpetuate Colombia’s socio-environmental conflicts.

We reject the threats, made through pamphlets, that the self-proclaimed Águilas Negras (Black Eagles) paramilitary group are purportedly making against the Environmental Committee of Tolima, against the Congress of Peoples, the Patriotic March, the Regional Indigenous Council of Tolima (CRIT), the National Indigenous Organisation of Colombia (ONIC), the Agrarian, Campesino, Ethnic and Popular Summit, organisations defending human rights and the mayor of Ibagué, Guillermo Alfonso Jaramillo.

 

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17 March General Strike

The three main union federations and many social organisations have called a general strike in

Colombia on 17 March against the policies of the Santos government.

The unions’ demands include:

  • · A decent increase in the minimum wage
  • · No to cuts in pension and health provisions
  • · Freeze prices of essential products
  • · Opposition to privatisation of major state asset, Isagen hydroelectric company
  • · That the government implements the agreement it made with farmer

and indigenous organisations.

The social organisations and trade unions repeated their support for the peace talks taking place between the government and the guerrilla groups (FARC and ELN), but they insist that the government has to adopt political, social and economic measures to alleviate the crisis facing ordinary Colombians.

 

 

LONDON PICKET 17 MARCH

SOLIDARITY WITH


GENERAL STRIKE IN COLOMBIA!

4pm – 5.30pm 17 March Picket of Colombian Embassy

3 Hans Crescent, London SW3 (back of Harrods)

Nearest tube Knightsbridge

Called by: Colombia Solidarity Campaign, Congreso de los Pueblos, Marcha Patriótica

 

 

CERREJON WORKERS ON STRIKE

Workers at Carbones del Cerrejón Limited (*) voted on 7 March 2016 over 98% in favor of a general strike. The workers’ union Sintracarbón states "It has not been the intention of the union to strike, we were confident that the company would understand the just demands of the workers and give a particular procedure and appropriate solution".

The workers’ problems are serious. Their most difficult issue is health. 900 of the mine’s 13,000 workers suffer 
from illnesses caused by mining activity. They have diseases such as cancer and silicosis, presented mostly
by people under 40 years. Neither the company nor the Guajira department can treat due to lack of specialized
health centers. The corporation denies the existence of such health problems.

Another issue is increasing workload this year without corresponding wage increase.
 
Cerrejon’s bosses have sought to deny workers participation in trade union activities, directly affecting the 
stability of Sintracarbón. This goes against Article 39 of the Constitution of Colombia which enshrines freedom
of association workers in unions without state intervention.
The environmental problem facing the population in La Guajira is another union demand. Most rivers in 
the department are dry because of mining . The workers have called for measures to protect the environment
and restore water sources.

Source: Colombia Informa

 

 

Berta Cáceres

We condemn the assassination of indigenous activist Berta Cáceres in Honduras, and demand security for witness Gustavo Castro Soto More info at http://movimientom4.org

 

 

MORE ASSASSINATIONS AND ATTACKS ON SOCIAL LEADERS

Four social activists were killed between 1 and 7 March in Colombia. Is this a post-conflict situation?

· Marisela Tombe campesino leader, Cauca

· Alexander Oime indigenous leader, Cauca

· Klaus Zapata youth organiser, JUCO Soacha

· William Castillo campesino leader, El Bagre, Antioquia

There were 682 documented attacks on human rights defenders in 2015. 63 of the defenders were assassinated. These attacks and assassinations have been increasing once again. The violations are occurring despite the suspension of armed hostilities between the state’s forces and the guerrillas. This indicates that the state’s paramilitary strategy is still in operation. verdadabierta.com

 

 

To Mine or not to Mine, that is the Question

Water or Gold? Colombians to Decide

Andy Higginbottom

In an unprecedented move, Guillermo Alfonso Jaramillo, the newly-elected mayor of Ibagué (Colombia), has announced that a local referendum will be held on mining and related activities within the municipality.  The referendum is expected to take place in May, in spite of bitter opposition from the mining lobby.

Residents of Ibagué are concerned that mining projects in the area, including AngloGold Ashanti’s La Colosa project, would result in serious environmental impacts, if allowed to go ahead.  Such a referendum (or in Spanish, consulta popular) - in a regional capital of 650,000 people - to debate the fate of large-scale mining, is probably the first of its kind in the world.  There is a growing opposition to mining in the region - last June 50,000 people from all walks of life took to the streets of Ibagué in protest.

Yes to Life, No to Mining

Attachments:
Download this file (AGA_and_the_DRC.pdf)AGA_and_the_DRC.pdf[AGA and the Democratic Republic of the Congo]139 Kb
Download this file (ColombiaInvestorSiteVisitLaColosaDay2.pdf)Colosa_Investor_Day_Slides.pdf[Colosa_Investor_Day_Slides.pdf]1321 Kb
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URGENT ACTION: DETENTION OF INDIGENOUS AUTHORITY FELICIANO VALENCIA

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URGENT ACTION

DECISION BY COURT IN POPAYAN TO ORDER DETENTION OF FELICIANO VALENCIA IS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED

We human rights organisations, the social and political movement, students and trade unions of southwest Colombia have worked hand in hand with FELICIANO VALENCIA and we demand his immediate release. We also demand that a disciplinary investigation be initiated against the arbitrary action of the judicial system officials who have waged a prolonged campaign against Feliciano. We express our complete solidarity with Feliciano, and our recognition of his strength, bravery and wisdom. We also express our complete solidarity with our sister indigenous organisations Asociacion de Cabildos Indigenas del Norte del Cauca (ACIN) and the Consejo Regional Indigena del Cauca (CRIC). From all around the southwest region ready for whatever protest actions may be needed to achieve Feliciano’s freedom.

FELICIANO VALENCIA is an indigenous leader

FELICIANO VALENCIA is an indigenous leader from the Asociacion de Cabildos Indigenas del Norte del Cauca (ACIN), and was a councillor of the Consejo Regional Indigena del Cauca between 2007 and 2009. He was spokesperson of the social movement Alliance la Minga de Resistencia Social y Comunitaria, and also it’s successor the Congreso de los Pueblos. He is recognised as a ‘master of traditional knowledge’ by UNESCO, and is one of the most distinguished social movement leaders of the 21st century in Colombia. He is recognised nationally and internationally for his extensive knowledge of ethnic rights, his important contribution to advances in indigenous legislation, and his protagonist role in regional and national debates between social movements and Colombian ex-presidents Andres Pastrana and Alvaro Uribe Velez, and current president Juan Manuel Santos.

In recent years Feliciano has led countless public protests and campaign actions, which gave rise to negotiations and agreements with the government. Feliciano has been vociferous in demonstrating how the government has not complied with these agreements, and arguing that the Colombian state has a historic debt towards the social movements, communities and peoples. He has been invited to conferences, forums and to universities around the country to present the vision of peace of the indigenous movement and social movements, where he has outlined the proposal of construction of community-led, transformative peace which is inclusive and participative.

Because of his frank and uncompromising attitude in demanding respect for the collective rights of communities, he has suffered serious security threats against him, which have increased with his leadership in social protests against genocide and state abandonment of communities.

In his role as representative of indigenous authorities, Feliciano has exposed the responsibility of state and other armed groups’ in violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in indigenous territories.

THE FACTS

  • Feliciano Valencia was arrested on 15th September 2015 in La Augustina, Cauca, after having participated in an indigenous education event in the city of Popayan
  • His detention was ordered by the Tribunal Superior court in Popayan, which overruled a previous ruling which had found Feliciano innocent in the case which had been illegitimately pursued against him
  • This 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, pluricultural rule of law system.
  • Feliciano Valencia has suffered constant persecution, harassment and threats, to the point that the Colombian state has classified his situation as high risk and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights has ordered precautionary measures from the Colombian government to protect his life. Numerous international organisations have regularly spoken out over the risk to Feliciano, demanding protection for him and his family.

BACKGROUND:

On 10 April 2009, Feliciano Valencia was arrested at Cali airport when he was about to board a plane destined for Brazil, then on to Bolivia to participate in a regional forum of social movements. Feliciano was to represent the Minga de Resistencia Social y Comunitaria at the event. The capture was ordered by a judge in Piendamo, Cauca, who charged Feliciano with kidnapping and assault. These charges related to an incident in 2008, when along with 6000 other indigenous community members, Feliciano participated in the judgement of JAIRO DANILO CHAPARRAL SANTIAGO, a soldier from the Brigada Móvil No.2 del Batallón de Contra Guerrilla. The soldier had infiltrated the ongoing mobilisations, in order to act as an agent provocateur and to realise intelligence activities against the indigenous authorities and community members. During this process under the indigenous legal jurisidiction, human rights organisations, state human rights institutions, and national and international media were present.

On 22 October 2009, Feliciano Valencia received a death threat via a fax which also identified trade unions and human rights organisations as targets, signed by the Aguilas Negras paramilitary group.

On 9 December 2010, Feliciano received a death threat to his mobile pone, again from the Aguilas Negras paramiltary group.

On 16 August 2012, Feliciano received a death threat via a leaflet which was distributed in Santander de Quilichao, Cauca. This time the threat was signed by the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (paramilitaries).

WE DEMAND:

ASOCIACION NOMADESC

MOVICE-VALLE DEL CAUCA

PCN-PALENQUE REGIONAL EL CONGAL

ASOAGROS-CNA

CORPORACION SEMBRAR

DH-COLOMBIA

SINTRAUNICOL- SUBDIRECTIVA VALLE

FUNDESCODES – BUENAVENTURA

CONGRESO DE LOS PUEBLOS-VALLE

COMITÉ DE SOLIDARIDAD CON PRESOS POLITICOS

MUJERES CORTERAS DE LA CAÑA

ASOCIACION DE MUJERES Y HOMBRES DE TRIANA

COMITÉ INTERORGANIZACIONAL DE BUENAVENTURA

COMITÉ CIVICO POR LA DEFENSA Y DIGNIDAD DE BUENAVENTURA

UNIVERSIDAD INTERCULTURAL DE LOS PUEBLOS

MINGA SOCIAL Y COMUNITARIA

CAMPAÑA PROHIBIDO OLVIDAR

 
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