PBI-Canada notes UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights Marcos Orellana call to ban fracking in Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On February 12, the Colombian news magazine Semana Sostenible reported: “United Nations Special Rapporteur on toxic substances and human rights, Marcos Orellana, asked Congress to prohibit the hydraulic fracturing technique for the exploitation of hydrocarbons in unconventional deposits in Colombia, due to the high impact on the environment, health and social welfare that it would cause.”

The 11-minute speech by Special Rapporteur Orellana can be seen here.

Orellana says: “New investments in this field are incompatible with the protection of human rights. This, because fracking generates toxic pollution, which threatens life, health and ecosystems; aggravates the planetary emergency and climate change; it violates the right to live in a healthy environment and undermines sustainable development.”

The news article adds: “His request is consistent with the recommendation made on January 29 by the UN Special Rapporteur on the environment and human rights, David Boyd, who stressed the need to face the climate crisis by guaranteeing a low-carbon future.”

Boyd said: “In light of its obligations and by virtue of constitutional and international human rights and environmental law, I respectfully hold that the Government of Colombia must pass a law to prohibit fracking.”

The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) awarded a contract to Ecopetrol on November 25, 2020 to conduct a fracking pilot project near Puerto Wilches.

Additional contracts are expected to be awarded on March 30.

One of those contracts could go to ExxonMobil in partnership with Toronto-based Sintana Energy Inc. (and its Colombian subsidiary Patriot Energy) that would likely involve the VMM-37 block also situated near Puerto Wilches.

PBI-Canada continues to express concern about the human rights obligations of the Canadian government and Canadian corporations in the context of popular resistance to fracking and the deepening climate crisis.

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