PBI-Colombia accompanies San José de Apartadó Peace Community and dhColombia at meeting with Canadian Embassy

Published by Brent Patterson on

Share This Page

On February 14, PBI-Colombia posted:

“”As peasants, our greatest strength is the land,” says @cdpsanjose [the San José de Apartadó Peace Community] accompanied by @dhColombia [the Association of Human Rights Defenders Network] in a meeting with [the Embassy of] @CanadayColombia and @ONUHumanRights [United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights]. Guarantees are urgently needed against the continuity of threats and attacks against the Community in its defense of #DDHH [human rights] and #MedioAmbiente [environment].”

On the twentieth anniversary of its founding in peaceful resistance to armed conflict in 2017, the Peace Community counted 326 of its members murdered and more than 4,000 human rights violations committed against them.

In January 2021, Yes! magazine reported: “The Peace Community, in addition to suffering [a] new wave of violence [after the peace agreement in 2016], is also under the threat of losing their communal land from a state project of agrarian reform, according to Germán Romero, a lawyer with dhColombia, a nonprofit organization in charge of representing the community in court to seek justice for the violence they have experienced.”

Voices at Risk

While the Global Affairs Canada Voices at Risk voluntary guidelines on supporting human rights defenders (launched in 2016 and updated in 2019) does not specifically mention peasants, campesinos, campesinas or farmers, it does refer to best practices related to “land rights and environmental human rights” defenders (page 30-31).

The guidelines for embassies acknowledge: “Defenders may face heightened risk of violence or repression because of their work, particularly if they are members of vulnerable or disadvantaged groups such as women, Indigenous peoples, LGBTI persons, persons with disabilities and economically marginalized people.”

UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other people working in rural areas was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2018.

The resolution in support of the Declaration was approved by 119 votes in favour, 7 votes against and 49 abstentions. Canada was one of those abstentions.

CIVICUS has commented: “The declaration was a long time coming and many campesino communities – who have fought costly battles corporations to protect their lands and lives from harmful mining and infrastructural projects for years – celebrated the commitment to their struggles.”

Accompanied organizations

PBI-Colombia has previously noted: “The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó in the Urabá Antioqueño region was founded in 1997 in the midst of armed violence, forced displacement, and the murder of its leaders.”

It has also explained: “dhColombia’s work focuses on litigation and legal representation in cases of attacks on union leaders, peasant leaders, political opponents, and indigenous communities. dhColombia’s area of work extends to many regions of the country, which have been hit hard by the armed conflict and human rights violations.”

PBI-Colombia has accompanied the Peace Community since 1999 (two years after it was founded) and dhColombia since 2016 (the year it was founded).

We continue to follow this situation and take note that April 17 is the International Day of Peasant Struggles.

Photo: PBI-Colombia accompanies the Peace Community on Good Friday, April 7, 2023.

Share This Page