PBI-Colombia accompanied Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission warns of new threat against Perla Amazónica Peasant Reserve Zone
On February 10, the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project accompanied Inter-Church Commission on Justice and Peace highlighted a new threat against the Perla Amazónica Peasant Reserve Zone (ZRCPA).
Their media release highlights with concern this new threat: “By express orders of the commandos of the armed structure Commands of the Border (CDF), the board of directors of the Peasant Reserve Zone, the Women’s Committees, the Environmental Committees, the ADISPA organization, must resign.”
The Association for the Integral Sustainable Development of the Perla Amazónica (ADISPA) is the association that manages the Perla Amazónica Peasant Reserve Zone (ZRCPA). The ZRCPA is located near Puerto Asis in the department of Putumayo, which is situated in south-west Colombia near the border with Ecuador.
Human rights defender Jani Silva is the president of ADISPA. Jani is accompanied by the Inter-Church Commission on Justice and Peace, which in turn has been accompanied by PBI-Colombia since 1994.
The media release adds: “Over the past six weeks, CDF units dressed as civilians and with short weapons, in three communities said they were working for progress and that is why no villager, nor organization can hinder the work of the oil company.”
It further notes: “Despite the distressing calls of the communities of ADISPA and ZRC for more than a year to the government and the State of Colombia to intervene from the human security approach nothing has been done.”
The Front Line Defenders Global Analysis report documented: “The killings of HRDs in Colombia did not stop during periods of lockdown … testament to the common refrain from HRDs during the year that ‘perpetrators do not self-isolate’. At the same time, the number of defenders receiving protection from the National Protection Unit was reduced.”
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, recently pointed out in this report to the Human Rights Council:
“Jani Silva is a woman and environmental human rights defender in Colombia. In January 2020, an unidentified person followed her home and to her workplace. In May 2020, it was revealed that she was among at least 130 people under illegal digital surveillance by army cyberintelligence. In July 2020, the organization Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz received information that an armed group was planning to kill Ms. Silva. Because of the threats, dating back to 2017, Ms. Silva has personal protection provided by the State, which includes a conventional vehicle and two security people. In addition, she has been assigned a mobile telephone and a bulletproof vest.”
By December 2020, Contagio Radio reported that the National Protection Unit (UNP) had withdrawn the bulletproof vest as a protection measure for Silva.
PBI-Canada continues to watch this situation with great concern.
To see a 1-minute video by Amnesty International about Jani Silva and the Perla Amazónica Peasant Reserve Zone, please click here.