PBI-Colombia attends meeting with community groups, diplomats in Buenaventura

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On September 12, the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project tweeted, “Today in Buenaventura visit of the diplomatic corps and meeting with the Committee of the Civic Unemployment and Committee for the Defence of Territory.”

Both NOMADESC and Black Communities Process (PCN) are noted in their tweet.

PBI-Colombia has previously explained, “Founded in 1999, the Association for Social Research and Action (NOMADESC) is a human rights organization that advises and accompanies organizations working on social, trade union, civic, indigenous, afro-descendant, agricultural and women’s issues.”

“NOMADESC has defended human rights in the port city of Buenaventura since 1999, when the Pacific and Farallones fronts of the Calima Block of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) paramilitary group began staging incursions in the area, leaving a trail of crime, theft, displacement and forced disappearance in their wake, all the way from Cali to Buenaventura.”

PBI-Colombia has also noted, “After NOMADESC began accompanying the processes of Afro-Colombian communities in time they saw the need for collaboration with other organisations.”

“NOMADESC now works with a dozen organizations from the Inter-Organizational Committee for the Defence of Rights of the Communities who live the Territories Reclaimed from the Sea in Buenaventura and started an integrated research initiative to show how the current port expansion and infrastructure development are linked to the human rights violations in the city and how constitutional and ethno-territorial rights are being infringed.”

“The report by the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission Buenaventura: Displacement for a Competitive Economy explains how the living conditions in Buenaventura have deteriorated as a consequence of the economic growth, modernisation and expansion through the development of the port.”

“This has led to restrictions on the population an increase in violence, social disintegration, the gradual disappearance of customs, and a disruption to local production and the traditional means of subsistence linked to the sea. The constant anxiety of not knowing where the affected population may be resettled or how they will survive economically is just one of many examples.”

In another tweet from September 12, PBI-Colombia quoted a participant at the meeting saying, “Black, indigenous and ethnic communities are legitimate here, we have not taken anything from anyone and live in harmony with the sea. Our desire is to live with dignity in Buenaventura quiet in our territory.”

For more on the context, you can also read PBI-Colombia visits Buenaventura following attack on social leader Carlos Tobar (August 16, 2019).

PBI-Colombia has accompanied NOMADESC since 2011 and its president Berenice Celeita since 1999. And it has accompanied the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission, whose report on displacement is noted above, since 1994.

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