Defending water can be deadly

Published by Brent Patterson on

The San Silvestre wetland provides drinking water to more than 190,000 people in the city of Barrancabermeja, Colombia.

It also provides a livelihood to artisanal fishers.

But the water is being polluted by the nearby Ecopetrol refinery, encroaching agribusiness (notably livestock that produce nitrogen, phosphorus and pathogens), and landfills that can release toxins into the water.

Being a vocal advocate of these waters can be risky.

The visit by Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard to the San Silvestre wetlands this past weekend helped highlight these dangers.

Artisanal fisher Yuli Velasquez was shot at on July 5 (just days after she took PBI-Canada out on the wetlands on June 30).

It was the third armed attacked against Yuli since January 2021. She says: “Every time we report a new pollution problem, it happens.”

You can hear directly from her and two other water protectors as they talk about this struggle on Wednesday December 7 at 3 pm ET.

To register, click here.

To help us cover the costs of this forum – the Zoom platform and translation costs – a donation of any amount here or by sending a cheque (our mailing address is 211 Bronson Avenue, Suite 220, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6H5) would be welcome.

Recent accompaniments

PBI-Colombia accompanies CREDHOS as Amnesty International Secretary General visits the San Silvestre wetlands

PBI-Guatemala accompanies Human Rights Law Firm at hearing for criminalized Indigenous journalist and fishermen’s union president

PBI-Honduras accompanies ARCAH as it files complaint with the Public Ministry in the framework of the ZEDEs

PBI-Mexico accompanies Indigenous community as it blockades highway to airport to demand recognition of their ancestral rights

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Categories: News Updates

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