More than 130 environmental organizations support the National Strike, call for an end to fracking and glyphosate spraying

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Andrea Nocove (CCACLP), Ivan Madero (CREDHOS) and Julia Figueroa (CCACLP) arrive on Vancouver Island, November 2019.

When representatives of the Regional Corporation in Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) and the Luis Carlos Perez Lawyers’ Collective (CCALCP) visited Canada on a PBI organized advocacy tour in 2019 they highlighted the opposition in Colombia to fracking and glyphosate spraying, as well as the risks faced by environmental defenders.

Last week, more than 130 organizations, collectives, movements and environmental platforms announced their participation in the national strike.

Among the eight demands listed in their statement:

1- Protect the life and integrity of environmental defenders who have been threatened, attacked and killed for their legitimate work of caring for and protecting nature, in the country that global witness says leads the number of environmentalists killed. We also call on Congress to ratify the Escazu Agreement, entangled by the null and void political will of the Duque government and its allied parties.

2- Prohibit the spraying of glyphosate on crops called illicit use, ensuring the implementation of points 1. Integral Rural Reform and 4. Substitution of crops of illicit use of the Peace Agreement, which allow the dignification of the work and life projects of those who work the land for food security and sovereignty, based on agroecological practices, protecting seeds as common goods and recognizing the Declaration of the Rights of Peasants.

3- Prohibit fracking, exploitation of unconventional deposits and new offshore deposits; to replace fossil fuel exploitation in the short term and halt the construction of new thermoelectric plants to move towards a fair energy transition as an urgent measure in the face of the climate emergency.

Their demands also include respecting free, prior and informed consent; guaranteeing the protection of water as a common good; stopping deforestation through the expansion of the African palm agribusiness; and declaring a moratorium on mega-mining.

Among the signatories of this statement: the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking, Extinction Rebellion Colombia, Water, Territory and Ecosystem Defender Corporation (CORDATEC), CRY-GEAM, the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective (CCAJAR), the Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (CREDHOS), and the Committee for the Defense of Water, Life and Territory (AguaWil).

Among the labour unions support the national strike: Central Union of Workers (CUT), General Confederation of Labour (CGT), the Confederation of Colombian Workers (CTC), and the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (FECODE).

A week before the national strike began, Jhonatan Varón of the Central Union of Workers in the department of Tolima has highlighted that the strike was opposed to glyphosate and fracking poisoning our territories and an effort to protect “social leaders who continue to be victims of political genocide by paramilitary groups and by the state itself.”

PBI-Colombia has been accompanying human rights defenders throughout the national strike. For more on that, please see Photo journal: PBI-Colombia accompanies human rights defenders during the #ParoNacional national strike.

PBI-Colombia accompanies CREDHOS during the national strike, May 2021.

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