Colombia Solidarity Campaign

- Fighting for Peace with Justice -

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Urgent Actions

Urgent actions announced through the campaign

Urgent Action - Tolima

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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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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

 

URGENT - Colombian Farmers Protest - Your Help Needed

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Colombian small-scale campesino farmers need your help!  They have had a very difficult time recently due to government policies, such as:

  • The signing of Free Trade Agreements with the EU and the US, both of which have heavily subsidised agricultural sectors, meaning that Colombia is being flooded with cheap imports.  It may be hard to believe, but Colombia has now become a coffee importer.
  • Policies to promote large-scale mining projects and hydroelectric dams, meaning that land ownership is being concentrated by foreign multinational companies in what is already one of the most unequal countries in the world.
  • Legislation forcing campesinos to use “certified” genetically modified seeds manufactured by companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta, a threat to food security and sovereignty, and the natural environment, in the second most biodiverse country in the world.

Paro Agrario
Agrarian protest, August 2013.  Photo credit: Utopía la Palabra

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EDM 746: Assassination of Environmental Campaigners in Colombia

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César and Adelinda
Please ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 746 about the recent assassinations of César García and Adelinda Gómez in Colombia.  Feel free to use the sample template letter below, or write your own.

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Urgent Action - Community Leader Killed, Others at Risk

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Small-scale campesino farmer and community leader, César Garcia, who had been opposing the development of a gold mining project in Cajamarca, Colombia, has been killed by an unknown gunman. There is a grave fear for security of other community leaders in the region.

Cesar Garcia

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COMUNICADO PARA ACCIONISTAS DE ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI

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Comité Ambiental en Defensa de la Vida

Ibagué, 11 May 2013

 

 

Señores accionistas:

En este momento, cuando ustedes evalúan el desarrollo de sus proyectos en Colombia, nos parece importante que incluyan en su análisis elementos de una realidad ambiental, social y humana, que seguramente no llegará a ustedes por la voz y los informes de quienes administran sus proyectos en nuestro país.

Quienes suscribimos este mensaje, somos organizaciones y personas, particularmente afectadas por el proyecto de la Colosa,  (ubicado en el municipio de Cajamarca, Tolima) pero también, preocupadas seriamente por una política gubernamental que asociada con ustedes, pretende expandir, en nuestra región y por todo el territorio colombiano, las explotaciones mineras a cielo abierto.

Desde el momento en que el gobierno concibió esa política, hace 8 años, se ha generado una gran movilización ciudadana que rechaza la megaminería como horizonte para el desarrollo de nuestro país, y con más vehemencia ahora, cuando son claros los hechos y señales de la minería y de la sed del oro, que  confirman su carácter de elementos altamente perturbadores del orden social, de la paz, de la soberanía territorial y de la equidad.

Tres son los puntos centrales de nuestro mensaje para ustedes:

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Stigmatisation of Campesinos and Environmentalists opposing La Colosa Gold Mine

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COMITE AMBIENTAL Y CAMPESINO DE CAJAMARCA
100 years defending the land

Press release: Monday, 25 February 2013

Item: Threats, stigmatisation and criminalisation of the campesino social movement of Anaime and Cajamarca, which opposes AngloGold Ashanti’s La Colosa project in Colombia.

We, the environmental and campesino committee of Cajamarca, the Environmental Committee for the Defence of Life (Comité Ambiental por la Defensa de la Vida) and the organisations and groups that are voicing our opposition about the dangers of the La Colosa Regional mining project of the company AngloGold Ashanti, report the following facts to the Tolimense community, and the national and international community:

Campesinos

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Urgent Action: Sensitive Information Stolen from Human Rights Organization COSPACC

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The Bogotá office of Colombian human rights organization COSPACC was robbed and looted.  Electronic and hard-copy files containing information about human rights violations are missing.

On 23rd of January, after entering the building, COSPACC managers noticed that their office doors were opened and locks were damaged. The managers immediately called the police and with their presence entered the offices. They found that the drawers of the desks, library and archive were opened; external hard drives and memory sticks with electronic archives, hard-copy files and photo cameras were taken.

COSPACC workers have noticed that the main entry door to the building was not damaged and that some valuable items, such as computers, were not stolen from the office.

COSPACC

 

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Urgent Action: Stop river diversion and support communities around Cerrejon mine in Colombia

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Joint urgent action request from Colombia Solidarity Campaign, London Mining Network and War on Want. London 6 November 2012

Three huge mining companies listed on the London Stock Exchange own Colombian company Cerrejon Coal, operator of the Cerrejon opencast coal mine in the department of La Guajira in Colombia. Mine expansion over the years has caused forced displacement of agricultural communities, and more communities face displacement for further expansion. Cerrejon Coal also want to divert the River Rancheria, the only river of any significant size in La Guajira, in order to get at coal underneath its bed. Local communities fear an ecological disaster.

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London Mining Network

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The London Mining Network (LMN) is an alliance of human rights, development and environmental groups. We pledge to expose the role of companies, funders and government in the promotion of unacceptable mining projects.