Feb 29, 2012
Friends of the Earth International condemns the recent violent incidents carried out against Friends of the Earth Guatemala (CEIBA) and the National Network in Defence of Food Sovereignty, Guatemala (REDSAG).
On February 25 the offices of Friends of the Earth Guatemala (CEIBA) and the National Network in Defense of Food Sovereignty (REDSAG) were broken into and all the computers were stolen. Money and valuable objects were not taken from the premises. This has led the organisations to believe that the crimes were politically motivated.
Last week CEIBA's environmental communicator, Oscar Galvez, was victim of another intimidating action. On March 15th he was attacked in the street by two people on a motorcycle. One of them threatened him with a gun and only took his laptop, containing information relevant to CEIBA and the organisations it works with.
The work carried out by CEIBA and REDSAG is widely known in Guatemala and around the world for its participation and promotion of processes for the defence of Indigenous Peoples and Guatemalan communities, like the successful community consultations. The groups have also opposed highly damaging projects such as mining and mega hydroelectric projects
Friends of the Earth International demands the authorities take the necessary steps to protect the property and physical integrity of the workers of CEIBA and REDSAG. Protecting the rights of human rights defenders is an urgent and unavoidable task. In the same way we expect that a transparent investigation into the incidents is carried out immediately.
Feb 16, 2012
Friends of the Earth International condemns the violent evictions carried out this week in Colombia to make way for the construction of the El Quimbo hydroelectric dam.
The Magdalena River, Colombia. Credit: RitaCuba
Police forces carried out a violent eviction of fishermen families from a non-violent sit-in on the shores of Magdalena river in front of the construction site of the hydroelectric project 'El Quimbo'.
They left three people wounded, amongst them a young man who lost his eye due to one of the gas-canisters used by the police. The construction has seriously affected the local way of life and has has a negative impact on women and men farmers, day labourers, fishermen, traditional miners that have constructed their culture around the Magdalena river.
It has come to our attention through declarations of Asoquimbo, the local organization that represents the people affected by the project and our national organization CENSAT 'Agua Viva', that the fishermen and farmers have appealed to all legal actions available to them in the framework of the Political Constitution and legislation of Colombia to stop the project, due to the permanent non-compliance and irregularities of the environmental license given by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.
Moreover, they have requested a Public Environmental Audience, as present in the Colombian legal framework, as a means for participation, where communities can make their demands public to entities of control, government, companies and the public in general. Up until today their request has been denied.
We strongly denounce the fact that during the eviction independent media were prevented from entering the area, amongst them our correspondent of Real World Radio, medium of communication for the Federation of Friends of the Earth.
Friends of the Earth International declares:
- Its unconditional support to the women and men affected by the hydroelectric project 'El Quimbo' in defence of their territory and their traditional ways of life.
- Its rejection of the violent answers towards the communities that ignore the roads of dialogue Asoquimbo and local organizations have promoted during the four years of resistance against the hydroelectric project.
- To the Colombian government to urgently attend the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams, that recognised the multiple environmental impacts, and on the life and means of subsistence of communities closely tied to rivers; Approve the realisation of the Public environmental Audience requested by the local communities and guarantee the protection of the rights of the local population, directly or indirectly affected y the hydroelectric project 'El Quimbo'.
- To the international community the importance to accompany Asoquimbo and local organizations in their valiant resistance and to support their proposal to declare the area of 'El Quimbo' a Rural and Agro-food Reserve.