UN Special Rapporteur’s report on Colombia notes Toronto-based Frontera Energy

Published by Brent Patterson on

The report on Colombia by Michel Forst, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, references Toronto-based Frontera Energy Corp.

Forst’s report notes (points 29 and 30 on page 9):

In the context of efforts to defend land and environmental rights, at least 202 defenders have been prosecuted since 2012. By way of example, during the Special Rapporteur’s visit, eight leaders from San Luis de Palenque were arrested and accused of collusion to commit an offence, violence against a public servant and obstructing a public road, and two of them with attempted homicide in connection with their participation in and leadership of the social protests between 2016 and 2018 in response to the failure of Canadian public company Frontera Energy to fulfil its obligation to compensate communities affected by environmental damage and to repair damaged roads. These human rights defenders remain deprived of their liberty, three of them in prison and five on house arrest.

The Special Rapporteur is concerned at the apparent connection between Frontera Energy, the army’s 16th brigade and the Attorney General’s Support Office in this criminalization and the possible impact of the agreement between Ecopetrol S.A. and the Attorney General’s Office on the situation. In November 2018, Frontera Energy signed two agreements with the Ministry of Defence for a total of US$ 1,343,106 to secure army protection for its activities. On 4 December 2018, the army and the police accused the aforementioned leaders of being members of “Los Jinetes con Careta”, an illegal armed group whose existence has yet to be recognized by the competent authorities. Furthermore, since 2015, Ecopetrol, the main Colombian hydrocarbon exploitation company, has signed five cooperation agreements with the Attorney General’s Office for a total of US$ 24,698,485 to strengthen the investigative and prosecutorial capacity of the Attorney General’s Support Office to deal – inter alia – with crimes of obstruction of public roads during social protests that affect the functioning of Ecopetrol and/or its associated companies, such as Frontera Energy.

The Special Rapporteur’s report can be read in full here.

The situation with Frontera Energy is being followed closely by the Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners (CSPP) and the Social Corporation for Community Advisory and Training Services (COSPACC). The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project has accompanied the CSPP since 1998 and COSPACC since 2009.

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