Posts Tagged ‘Colombia’

Bartolome de las Casas, an award specially for indigenous peoples

July 14, 2017

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Photo: Leader of Peru’s Ashaninka indigenous people, Ruth Buendia, was handed over the Bartolome de las Casas Prize from the Government of Spain. ANDINA/Difusión

Granted already in 2014, King Felipe VI of Spain presented the 23rd Bartolome de las Casas Award on Tuesday 4 July to Ruth Buendia, for her leadership skills as chairwoman of the Central Ashaninka del Rio Ene (CARE), a local organization in Peru that gathers 17 indigenous communities and works to defend the rights of the Ashaninka people in the Ene River Valley.the award honors her significant contribution to human and sustainable development, as well as her environmental protection work.  The jury acknowledged Buendia’s efforts to provide access to public health and education services across the communities. Also, she managed to stop the construction of the Patizipatango hydroelectric dam, which prevented arable lands of 10 communities from being flooded.

In 2014, Buendia received also the Goldman Environmental Prize, dubbed the Green Nobel Prize, which recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk.  See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/09/01/violence-against-environmental-human-rights-defenders-one-of-the-worst-trends-in-recent-years/

The Bartolome de las Casas Award was also granted to Colombia‘s Fundacion Caminos de Identidad —FUCAI (Roads to Identity Foundation) for its constant work strengthening identity and autonomy of indigenous peoples in different fields: education, food sovereignty, family, childhood and youth.

Nobel Peace Prize 2016 has strong peace content

October 8, 2016

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 is very much a traditional and clear ‘peace’ award. The news can be found in all mainstream media. So for the record, and in the words of the Norwegian Nobel Committee: “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end…” That the referendum rejected the proposal does not diminish the serious effort made (and perhaps shows the risk of calling referendums where ‘anger’ of different kinds tends to favor any response that has a NO element in it).

For last year’s see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/more-on-the-tunisian-winners-of-the-nobel-peace-prize/

Source: The Nobel Peace Prize 2016 – Press Release

Role of Human Rights Defenders critical for post-accord justice in Colombia says Mary Lawlor

July 12, 2016

Mary Lawlor has only  just announced her departure (see announcement published yesterday) and already an article on Colombia of 11 July 2016 shows what insights we may miss in the future. The link between the peace process and the role of human rights defenders in Colombia was referred to in earlier posts [e.g. https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/human-rights-defenders-squeezed-by-geo-politics-the-cases-of-colombia-iran-and-cuba/]  Mary Lawlor here welcomes the agreement as historic, offering the Colombian people an opportunity to make a break with the endemic violence of the past. The direct reference to the protection of human rights defenders in the peace agreement is one more reason to celebrate. Here the piece in full:

Human Rights Defenders Critical for Post-Accord Justice in Colombia

Read the rest of this entry »

Runners up for Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders 2016 announced

May 11, 2016

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped has announced that the finalists for its 2016 award are human rights defenders from Azerbaijan, Burma/Myanmar, Colombia, Honduras, Palestine, and Tanzania. For more information on the annual Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Riskhttp://www.brandsaviors.com/thedigest/award/front-line-defenders-award.

 

 

The 6 finalists for 2016 are Read the rest of this entry »

Alarming criminalisation of human rights defenders in Latin America

February 27, 2016

The criminalization of human rights defenders in the context of the extraction of natural resources and megaprojects is becoming a very worrisome phenomenon in Latin America, denounces the Observatory in a report published today in Mexico. Entitled “The criminalization of human rights defenders in the context of industrial projects: a regional phenomenon in Latin America”, this document points to the role of businesses, civil servants, public prosecutors, judges, and the State. The report issued by OMCT and FIDH (in the context of their Observatory for Human Rights Defenders) on 25 February 2016 describes the specific cases of human rights defenders criminalized in eight Latin American countries (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru).

 

The report especially stresses two core issues common to all the countries studied: Read the rest of this entry »

Assassination of human rights defenders proceed in Honduras, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and the Philippines

January 29, 2016

On 30 November I referred to the systematic killing of human rights defenders in 2015 [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/closing-civil-society-space-a-euphemism-for-killing-human-rights-defenders/] and mentioned the annual report by Front Line for 2015 listing Latin America and the Philippines as the most dangerous places [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/01/06/latin-america-philippines-most-dangerous-places-for-human-rights-defenders/]. If further illustration is needed, here some short summaries of cases of killing human rights defenders as reported by Front Line over the last few months:Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

Honduras: Killing of LGTBI rights defender Paola Barraza. On 24 January 2016, human rights defender Ms Paola Barraza was assassinated by unknown attackers in front of her house in the neighbourhood of Lempira, in Comayaguela. Paola Barraza, a trans woman, was a member of the board of directors of Asociación LGTB Arcoíris (LGTB Rainbow Association). The human rights defender was at home when  unknown persons knocked at her door and called her outside. When Paola Barraza answered the door she was fired upon five times. She died at the scene as a result of her wounds.  Paola Barraza was previously attacked in connection with her LGTBI rights work on 15 August 2015  [https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/29495] Between 23 June 2015 and 31 August 2015, three other LGTBI rights defenders working in country were killed https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/29495.
Read the rest of this entry »

Human rights defenders squeezed by geo-politics? The cases of Colombia, Iran and Cuba.

September 11, 2015

Health and holidays (in that order) have slowed down my blog production somewhat this summer, but perhaps this was a welcome break for many of my readers for reasons of holiday and health (in that order I hope). Anyway, during these summer months I read quite some instances of HRD repression related to countries involved in major ‘geo-political’ progress and I started wondering whether this is coincidental. Take the following three cases: Colombia, Iran and Cuba. Read the rest of this entry »

Colombian human rights defender Berenice Celeita talks on 10 June in Washington

June 2, 2015

Wednesday 10 June, 2015 (p.m.) Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Peace Brigades International, and Amnesty International USA organize a “Discussion with Colombian Human Rights Defender Berenice Celeita“. The event will feature Ms. Berenice Celeita, the founder of the Association for Investigation and Social Action (NOMADESC) and winner of the 1998 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Through NOMADESC, Ms. Celeita advises and accompanies social organizations and unions as well as civic, women’s, indigenous, afro-descendent, and family farmer organizations.

Ms. Celeita will discuss the current human rights situation in Colombia, including the most pressing issues faced by marginalized communities claiming their rights, and will speak about strategies for combating human rights abuses against these populations.

[For years, civil society activists in the Cauca and Valle del Cauca Departments of Colombia have endured incidences of intimidation, harassment, and persecution as a result of their work. While these incidences have recently intensified, they are not new and form part of a long pattern of threats and attacks against the work of human rights defenders and community leaders in Colombia. The internal armed conflict in Colombia generates internally-displaced populations and sexual violence against women, and further marginalizes impoverished populations. Indigenous and afro-descendent leaders who stand up for their rights and defend their lands are acutely at risk of death threats and other forms of intimidation. In this context – characterized by a lack of security and government accountability – the work of human rights defenders and civil society activists is paramount and must be safeguarded, as they serve as the voice and guardians for local populations facing evictions, violence, and persecution.]

To attend contact: rsvp@rfkhumanrights.org before 8 June.

Jorge Molano from Colombia laureate of 2015 Lawyers for Lawyers Award

May 15, 2015

L4L logoJorge Elecier Molano, a Colombian human rights Lawyer and member of DHColombia, is the winner of the Lawyers for Lawyers Award 2015. He is based in Bogota and works as an independent lawyer and legal advisor to several NGOs, including ‘Sembrar’. Jorge Molano received numerous death threats in the course of his work as a lawyer and human rights defender. After the death threats in 2009 and 2010, he felt obliged to send his daughters to live abroad for security reasons. In January 2013 the Colombian State’s National Protection Unit (NPU) defined Jorge Molano’s risk level as “extraordinary,” due to several security incidents. In 2014 Jorge Molano and other members of DHColombia and Sembrar have been the victim of several aggressions including attacks on family members, raids on his home to steal information, cyber-attacks on email and website accounts, telephone interception, and illegal surveillance, among others.

Currently, Jorge Molano represents victims in some of the most emblematic human rights cases in Colombia, such as the disappearance of 11 people after the dramatic events around the hostage-taking at the Palace of Justice in Bogota on 6 and 7 November 1985, and the killing on 21 February 2005 of several members (including minors) of the Comunidad de Paz of San José de Apartado, a group of villagers who have sworn not to become involved in the conflict in Colombia. Jorge Molano also provides legal support to persons in cases where organizations and human rights defenders are spied upon by national intelligence agencies, and in cases concerning extrajudicial executions.

The jury noted that among the nominees a shockingly large amount of lawyers are imprisoned for doing their work. In far too many countries human rights lawyers and their relatives live in constant danger. The jury found in Jorge Molano a lawyer who is standing out for his decennia long commitment to those who are not accepting the suppression by the often criminal and violent powers that be. By awarding Molano the jury wants to applaud his immense personal courage and stamina and draw attention to the largely overlooked dire human rights situation in Colombia”.

Human rights lawyers from across the world were nominated for the L4L Award. Khalil Maatouk from Syria and Pu Zhiqiang from China were the other two shortlisted lawyers. Jorge Molano will accept the award on 29 May at L4L’s seminar ‘Lawyers are not their clients’.

For more information on the award see: http://www.brandsaviors.com/thedigest/award/lawyers-lawyers. For L4L visit www.lawyersforlawyers.org or contact the Executive Director (+31.6 262 743 90)

Colombia: impunity does not always prevail

May 7, 2015

Colombia‘s Supreme Court sentenced the former head of the country’s secret police to 14 years in prison for spying on officials and journalists. Maria del Pilar Hurtado committed the offenses between 2007 and 2008, targeting political opponents of then-President Alvaro Uribe. UPI reports on 1 May 2015 that a number of human rights organizations, including the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Oxfam Solidariteit, applauded the convictions, saying it “confirms the existence of a system of espionage, persecution, harassment and threats against opponents, judges, journalists and human rights defenders, designed and organized at the highest levels of Alvaro Uribe Velez’s government.”

[When the allegations surfaced in 2010, Hurtado sought asylum in Panama. Her asylum was later revoked and she turned herself in to Colombian authorities in January. Uribe’s former chief of staff, Bernardo Moreno, was also convicted for his role in the illegal wire taps and was sentenced to eight years of house arrest Uribe has denied any knowledge of the illegal acts. He announced via Twitter on Thursday that he would appear before the Supreme Court on May 5 to answer questions.]

14-year prison sentence for Colombia’s ex-secret police chief – UPI.com.