Constitutional Court will study review filed by CCALCP on breaches of PNIS voluntary substitution program in Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: CCALCP director Julia Figueroa speaking in Ottawa during Peace Brigades International advocacy tour, November 5, 2019.

When Julia Figueroa and Andrea Nocove from the Luis Carlos Perez Lawyers’ Collective (CCALCP) took part in a PBI advocacy tour in Canada in 2019 they highlighted concerns about the forced eradication of coca crops in Colombia.

Now, on March 26 of this year, CCALCP tweeted:

“Breaches of the National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of Illicit Crops (PNIS) in Catatumbo will be studied by the Constitutional Court in a guardianship review filed by CCALCP together with the Campesina Association of Catatumbo (ASCAMCAT), the National Union of Coca, Poppy and Marijuana Farmers (COCCAM) and the presidents of the Community Action Board (JAC) of the Caño Indio pilot plan in the municipality of Tibú.”

The National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of Illicit Crops (PNIS) is a crucial component of the Peace Agreement (2016).

Under the program, farmers agreed to voluntarily uproot their coca fields. In exchange, the government would provide subsidies and training programs to help them swap illegal crops for alternative, legal ventures.

Instead of this, the Colombian government has pursued a controversial fumigation program to eradicate coca crops by spraying the herbicide glyphosate from airplanes.

On February 15, Colombia Informa reported: “The peasant communities of Catatumbo, North Santander, reported that the National Army has been carrying out forced eradication operations for more than a week.”

The Spanish news agency EFE reports: “The current Minister of Defense, Diego Molano, has repeated on several occasions that the Executive’s plans are to start spraying in April and that the Air Force is getting ready to do so.”

Ten United Nations Special Rapporteurs have stated in this recent letter to the Colombian government: “[The resumption of spraying] would violate the peace agreement and against the provisions of the Constitutional Court regarding the hierarchy between the strategies for the eradication of illicit crops.”

Their letter adds: “[Spraying poses] enormous risks for human rights and the environment, at the same time that it would not comply with the conditions established in the ruling T-236 of the Constitutional Court, nor with international obligations. in the matter.”

Contrary to these concerns, the United States government has stated: “The government of Colombia has committed to re-starting its aerial coca eradication program, which would be a most welcome development.”

PBI-Canada will continue to follow this situation.

PBI-Colombia began to accompany the Bucaramanga-based CCALCP collective of women lawyers in 2006.

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