PBI-Colombia accompanies Nomadesc at meeting with Canadian Ambassador, the Archbishop of Cali

Published by Brent Patterson on

On May 18, Nomadesc tweeted:

“In a meeting with the Ambassador of Canada, Political Secretary of the embassy and @arzobispodecali [Dario Monsalve, the Archbishop of Cali], territorial authorities of the #sospacifico request monitoring of DH [human rights] and DESCA [Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights] to overcome humanitarian crisis and violence in Buenaventura and Litoral del San Juan Choco. #priorconsultation.”

Litoral del San Juan Choco

Last week, Pares reported:

“In [Litoral del San Juan Choco], the ELN and the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC) have been fighting since the end of last year, in addition to the operations of the public force, mainly against the ELN. This scenario makes the Litoral del San Juan an area of ​​high risk for the civilian population. In particular, it represents a risk for organizational processes, as well as for social leaders, due to the repeated violations of human rights that occur, which leave worrying figures of victims, in a municipality of only 6,741 inhabitants. Currently there are still confined indigenous communities because the armed strike of the AGC has not yet been lifted in its entirety.”

That article also notes: “Another aspect that aggravates the humanitarian situation is that, despite the fact that social organizations have been advancing all kinds of complaints about this situation, the authorities do not recognize the dimension of the problem.”

Buenaventura

On February 22, 2021, PBI-Colombia accompanied Nomadesc on a verification mission meeting on the humanitarian crisis in Buenaventura.

Foreign Policy has reported that “resentment simmers among Buenaventura residents over the fact that little money flowing through the port enriches the city.”

Five year ago, civic strike mobilizations demanded access to sources of employment, housing, drinking water, education, and health, among other economic, social, and cultural rights.

Noting that 95 percent of the city’s residents are Afro-descendant and Indigenous, Danelly Estupiñán with the Process of Black Communities says: “From our judgment” the lack of investment is “precisely for that reason.”

Colombian human rights advocate Enrique Chimonja, who has been helping to organise peasant, Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities for decades, including communities in Buenaventura, sees “the continuing paramilitary group activity as a strategy by private companies to evict people living on their collective lands in order to accommodate port expansion required not only by the free-trade agreement with the US but also by the 16 other FTAs Colombia has signed [which would include the Canada-Colombia FTA in 2011].”

The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project has accompanied Nomadesc since 2011 and its president Berenice Celeita since 1999.

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