PBI-Colombia accompanies COSPACC and CSPP at ‘The right to defend rights’ workshop in Casanare
On April 19, PBI-Colombia posted on Instagram: “This weekend PBI we accompanied the Social Corporation for Community Counseling and Training (COSPACC) and the Committee for Solidarity with Political Prisoners (CSPP) in the workshop ‘The right to defend rights’ given to defenders and leaders in Plan Brisas, Casanare.”
COSPACC and the CSPP have also produced the report Criminalization of the defence of human rights in Colombia: The judicialization of defenders of land, territory, environment and peace. It documents that 74 per cent of the human rights defenders prosecuted between January 2012 and July 2019 were environmental defenders.
That report also highlights the case of the eight social leaders in San Luis de Palenque, Casanare criminalized by Toronto-based Frontera Energy.
Michel Forst explains: “Social protests [took place] 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.”
Frontera then signed two protection agreements on November 16 and 19, 2018 with the Colombian Ministry of Defence totalling US$1.3 million.
Days later, on November 27, 2018, the army and police launched a massive operation and arrested eight social leaders.
It wasn’t until August 10, 2020, that a court revoked the custodial measures imposed on two of these social leaders. Then on September 16, 2020, after more than 500 days having elapsed without a trial, a judge ordered the release of the other leaders.
We continue to closely follow this case.
We were also honoured to have COSPACC lawyer Tatiana Triana speak on our webinar on International Women Human Rights Defenders Day on November 29 last year.
PBI-Colombia has accompanied COSPACC since 2009 and the CSPP since 1998.