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Dear <<First Name>>

This month ABColombia launched in Bogotá the Spanish version of a report about large-scale mining in Colombia. The report looks at Colombian Government policies and evaluates the effectiveness of the governance mechanisms in Colombia. It concludes that there are major contradictions in government policies that are leading to human rights violations and serious environmental damage (see photos from the event here).
Argemiro Bailarín, Representative of the Embera Katío Indigenous community, speaking at the launch in Bogotá

The report also highlights the impacts that British Corporations are having on the rights of communities and the environment, and the risks for UK listed or headquartered mining companies that are looking to invest in a country where an ongoing conflict is taking place and where there are multiple disputes over land. You can download the report ‘Giving it Away: the Consequences of an Unsustainable Mining Policy in Colombia’ in Spanish and English here.
One of the case studies included in the report is Santurbán páramo. During the last decade, Santurbán páramo has been the subject of legal battles over the granting of mining licenses in the region. Campaigners have succeeded in uniting many sectors in social protest against the mine and recently mobilised thousands of people in the area for a peaceful march. Campaigners argue that mining in the páramo – upland moor area – would put at risk the drinking water of more than 2 million people and have devastating impacts on this fragile ecosystem. In January an area of 11,700 hectares of Santurbán was declared a national park. However, it is still unclear what implications this will have for the mining titles which have been granted in the area. Read more here.
Following the visit of our indigenous partners to the UK last November, an Early Day Motion has been tabled in the UK Parliament on the subject of mining and indigenous peoples in Colombia. For those in the UK, we would greatly appreciate it if you could write to your MP asking them to sign the EDM. You can find out who your MP is here.

ABColombia is extremely concerned about threats which have been sent to human rights defenders in the Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó region. ABColombia have written a letter to the UK Minister of State about recent threats and attacks and Amnesty International have also issued Urgent Actions calling for their immediate protection. This region is at the centre of the Colombian Government’s land restitution policies and an Order from the Constitutional Court in December 2012 (download Court Order 299 here).

The examination by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC) of the human rights situation in Colombia through the mechanism of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will take place in Geneva on 23 April 2013. ABColombia, together with other international platforms and organisations, have composed a report on the human rights situation in Colombia which can be read here.

ABColombia welcomes the resolution on criminalisation of human rights defenders adopted at the 22nd Session of the UN HRC on 21 March 2013. The resolution urges States to uphold international law and publicly acknowledge the important and legitimate role of human rights defenders in the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Colombian human rights defenders continue to be stigmatised, threatened and killed. For more information on the situation of human rights defenders in Colombia please visit our website.
Peace talks are still taking place between the Colombian Government and the FARC guerrilla. However, since the unilateral cease fire by the FARC ended on 20 January there has been a considerable increase in the conflict, with the civilian population once again caught in the middle.

Kind regards,

Louise Winstanley

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London: Judges at Risk

As part of the 2012 Colombia Caravana delegation a number of British judges met with members of the judiciary in Colombia to hear evidence of their situation.

On 29 April the judges will present their report. For more details and to register see the flyer here.


Monday 29 April 6.30-8.00pm

The Old Council Chamber, The Law Society, 113, Chancery Lane, WC2A 1PL


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