What does the Escazú Agreement mean for environmental defenders in the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia?

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Click here to register for a webinar that will feature Colombian environmental defenders Ivan Madero, Yuli Velasquez, Oscar Sampayo, and Yuvelis Natalia Morales.

On April 19, Reuters reported: “The Escazu agreement is raising hopes among some [human rights defenders in Latin America] that they will be better protected and see the perpetrators of crimes brought to justice.”

That article adds: “The accord, which comes into force on April 22, has been signed by 24 of the region’s 33 countries, so far, and formally ratified by 12.”

Among its provisions, the article notes, “The treaty obligates countries to ensure activists can access public information on environmental cases and issues.”

“The treaty [also] orders countries to set up bodies to monitor, report and ensure new rules are adhered to, and specifies the rights of environmentalists, including their right to freedom of expression, free movement and peaceful assembly.”

Global Witness campaigner Marina Comandulli says: “Defenders are central in the fight against the climate crisis … we need a zero-tolerance approach to violence and to threats.”

Webinar on April 29

Bogota-based journalist Genevieve Glatsky has written: “In Colombia, massive protests against President Iván Duque prompted the conservative leader to sign the agreement in December 2019, becoming the last country to join Escazú. But both houses of Congress must now approve it, before it then faces a Constitutional Court review, a process that has been delayed by the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, environmental defenders continue to be threatened in the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia.

On Thursday April 29, our webinar will feature four Colombian environmental defenders who have recently received death threats.

This is also in the context of ExxonMobil and Ecopetrol being granted contracts to frack by the Colombian National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH).

To register for this fully bilingual webinar, click here.

Ivan Madero, the president of CREDHOS, will be one of our speakers on April 29.

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