Increasing Threats against Afro-Colombian Collective Territorial Rights

Publié le par hort

Increasing Threats against Afro-Colombian Collective Territorial Rights in the Bajo Atrato Region of Chocó, Colombia (Curvaradó)

For more info rmation see AFRODES Letter & Colombia:
Law 70 of 1993 TransAfrica Forum Fact Sheet
http://www.transafr icaforum. org/files/ AFRODESletter_ Curvarado. pdf

BACKGROUND:

Afro-Colombians in the Bajo Atrato river basin in Chocó, Colombia, are experiencing recurring waves of incursions, assassinations, attacks and displacements. The NGO Inter-Church Commission of Justice and Peace (CIJP) has been working with Afro-Colombian community council leaders to ensure the collective territories of Afro-Colombians in Curvaradó that were violently and illegally taken over by paramilitaries are fully restored to the rightful owners. Recently, death threats against members of CIJP have increased and a human rights defender, Yimmi Armando Jansasoy Muñoz, was threatened and illegally detained at gunpoint by members of the “Black Eagles” paramilitary group.

The latest developments are occurring in the context of Afro-Colombians and human rights defenders working to ensure Afro-Colombian land rights are recognized in accordance with Law 70 (1993) and working to prevent the expansion of cash crops in their territories, such as African palm.
Many of the Afro-descendant communities have been displaced for nearly ten years, as a result of the ongoing conflict in Colombia between the army, paramilitaries and the guerrilla. Once displaced, companies unlawfully seized Afro-descendant lands (mostly held under the collective titles granted pursuant to Law 70), then deforested the area and sowed the land with extensive cash crops. Paramilitaries have repeatedly attempted to prevent the return of ancestral lands and tried to intimidate Afro-Colombians into accepting the illegal cultivation of African palm oil and breeding of cattle.

Afro-Colombians continue to organize Humanitarian Zones, which are areas designated by the communities as exclusive to the civilian and unarmed population, and Biodiversity Zones, where the communities seek to safeguard their traditional and sustainable use of the land. Communities are increasingly faced with human rights violations and infractions of international humanitarian law. Due to several further displacements, some of the Afro-descendant communities, and their Community Council representatives elected under the provisions of Law 70, have sought the accompaniment of CIJP, which is also accompanied by Peace Brigades International (PBI). In 2006, PBI began permanently accompanying CIJP in the Curvaradó and neighboring Jiguamiandó River Basins.

ACTION:

TransAfrica Forum stands in solidarity with Afro-Colombian civil society and recommends you call your Congressperson at the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and urge them to have the State Department:

Ask the U.S. Embassy to publicly express their support for the land return process in Curvaradó and the work of human rights defenders and Afro-Colombian community leaders in Curvaradó.

Contact the Colombian Vice President's office and encourage them to take strong action to dismantle the military, economic and political operational structures of the paramilitaries operating in the Bajo Atrato region.

Encourage Colombian authorities to investigate the recent threats against Justice and Peace and promptly prosecute those responsible.

TransAfrica Forum is the leading U.S. advocacy organization for Africa and the African Diaspora in U.S. foreign policy. TransAfrica Forum helped lead the world protest against apartheid in South Africa and today works for human and economic justice for African people on the continent of Africa, in Latin America and in the Caribbean. Contact us: TransAfrica Forum, 1629 K Street, N.W., Suite 1100, Washington, D.C., 2006, 202-223-1960, www.transafricaforu m.org.

TAKE ACTION!

Contact your congressperson today.

Publié dans African diaspora

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