PBI-Colombia accompanies CJL and Ituango leaders at meeting with Canadian Embassy

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On August 11, PBI-Colombia tweeted: “PBI is present at this meeting with the Embassy @CanadayColombia on the humanitarian crisis in the municipality of #Ituango, #Antioquia. We appreciate the space to discuss this important topic.”

This was one of a series of meetings with embassies that PBI-Colombia has accompanied with the Corporation for Judicial Freedom (CJL) and leaders of Ituango over the past two days to discuss the humanitarian crisis in the region.

Two weeks ago, The Guardian reported: “More than 4,000 people have fled the violence of militias operating in the resource-rich region in recent months.”

“Bringing only what they could carry with them, entire families have fled from their homes in rural hamlets to the urban hub anchoring the region. According to the UN, 1,300 of those displaced are children.”

That article notes the situation for those displaced has been even further complicated because: “Roads have been blocked by mud and debris after heavy rains, while helicopters have been unable to land. As a result, the delivery of food and medical supplies has been stymied, and communications cut off.”

Isabel Cristina Zuleta of Rios Vivos says: “This is a terrifying situation; we’re seeing that the government is completely incapable of protecting these people. The government is not tending to the growing poverty there, nor to the cultural patrimony that is lost when peasant farmers have to abandon their homes, animals and livelihoods.”

PBI-Colombia has previously posted: “Several of the cases that the Corporation for Judicial Freedom is working on focus on defending the environmental rights of communities, and more specifically, the right to water.”

It then further highlights: “One of the sadly famous cases in this area is that of the controversial Hidroituango hydroelectric project, located in the municipality of Ituango.”

Zuleta has stated: “Since its launch in 1997, this megaproject has been imposed by violence and the forced displacement of the population, victims of the armed conflict.”

The Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL) has reported: “The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec [the Quebec pension fund] and Export Development Canada [a Government of Canada agency] are financing this project.”

And Above Ground has noted: “EPM [Empresas Públicas de Medellín], a Colombian state-owned enterprise, has twice benefitted from the support of Export Development Canada in recent years. In 2016 and 2017, EDC provided EPM with financing totalling between 500 million and one billion dollars.”

PBI-Colombia has accompanied the Corporation for Judicial Freedom, which was founded in 1993 by a group of lawyers and law students, since 2000.

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