Colombian Senate’s Peace Commission to hold public hearing with threatened environmental defenders from Puerto Wilches

Published by Brent Patterson on

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20-year-old Yuvelis Natalia Morales is a member of AguaWil.

On April 26, Colombian Senator Antonio Sanguino tweeted: “Given the difficult human rights situation that leaders and environmental leaders are going through in Puerto Wilches, we have approved in [the Senate of Colombia’s Peace Commission] a public hearing to listen to the communities that have received threats and demand actions that protect the lives of environmental defenders.”

The Peace Commission is a body that includes legislators from diverse political parties engaged in the search for peace and security.

In response, environmental defender Carlos Andrés Santiago tweeted: “Many thanks to [the Peace Commission] for approving this hearing requested by [the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking] to learn about the threats against environmental defenders who oppose fracking in Magdalena Medio. That defending the water does not cost your life.”

The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) has recently authorized two fracking pilot projects in the vicinity of Puerto Wilches.

This past February, the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking reported on threats suffered by several young people from the Committee for the Defence of Water, Life and Territory of Puerto Wilches (AguaWil) due to their opposition to fracking.

20-year-old Yuvelis Natalia Morales was one of the AguaWil activists threatened.

Following that, 34 members of the Colombian Congress wrote to President Ivan Duque stating: “We have been informed of serious threatening acts against several young women from Aguawil, which occurred in recent weeks. The harassments have coincided with public debates around questioning the [fracking pilot projects] and have been directly executed by armed individuals who conceal their identification and who openly justified their threats due to the social activism carried out by the young people of Aguawil.”

That letter also highlighted: “Members of the Police have removed posters ‘No to Fracking in Puerto Wilches’ posted by members of this committee, in a clear persecution of their work as environmental defenders.”

PBI continues to follow this situation.

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