Peace Brigades International and the struggle for water justice

Published by Brent Patterson on

Peace Brigades International accompanies numerous emblematic water justice struggles in Latin America. Some of those include:

COLOMBIA

Water pollution: PBI-Colombia accompanies the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) who in turn accompanies the Federation of Santander Fishers for Tourism and Environment (FEDEPESAN). Their struggle includes the pollution of the San Silvestre wetlands by the Ecopetrol refinery in Barrancabermeja and large-scale agribusiness (buffalos and palm) that harms the livelihoods of artisanal fishers.

Opposition to fracking: PBI-Colombia also accompanies the Committee for the Defence of Water, Life and Territory of Puerto Wilches (AGUAWIL) with CREDHOS. Their struggle includes resisting two fracking “pilot projects” near the Magdalena River in Santander that would be operated by Ecopetrol.

GUATEMALA

Opposition to hydroelectric dams: PBI-Guatemala accompanies the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón, a collective of 38 Maya Q’eqchi’ communities, who oppose the construction of hydroelectric dams on the Cahabón River and its tributaries without free, prior and informed consent of the Maya Q’eqchi’ peoples.

Opposition to river diversions and water pollution by the sugar industry: PBI-Guatemala accompanies the Retalhuleu Community Council (CCR) who have seen the diversion of rivers, drought and the pollution of wells, rivers and lagoons, as well as the destruction of livelihoods caused by sugar mills in the South Coast region.

HONDURAS

Water privatization: PBI-Honduras accompanies the Alternative for Community and Environmental Reclamation of Honduras (ARCAH) in Tegucigalpa who are mobilizing against the World Bank and the planned privatization of water services which they see as a violation of the UN-recognized human right to water.

Water pollution by a poultry processing plant: ARCAH has also struggled against the poultry company ‘El Cortijo’ dumping its waste into the Choluteca River.

Water pollution by a mine: PBI-Honduras accompanies the Guapinol River defenders who have been criminalized for opposing the Inversiones Los Pinares open-pit iron oxide mine. When the company began building an access road to the site, the tap water in Guapinol turned brown and thick with muddy sediment.

MEXICO

Water takings by the fossil fuel industry: PBI-Mexico accompanies the Peoples’ Front in Defence of Land and Water – Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala (FPDTA-MPT) who oppose the Morelos Integral Project (PIM) that includes taking 50 million liters of water daily from the Cuautla River to cool the turbines at a thermoelectric plant.

Water takings by the bottled water industry: The Peoples’ Front has also been active in denouncing the Danone/Bonafont bottled water plant in Cuanala that has been extracting 1,641,000 litres of water per day from community water sources for the past 29 years.

Be sure to join us on Tuesday November 15 at 10 am ET when PBI accompanied defenders will speak about the intersection between climate change and water security as well as the attacks, criminalization and imprisonment they have experience due to their water justice activism. You can register at COP27 and environmental defenders.

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