Nov 16, 2012
Friends of the Earth International expresses its alarm and distress at the disappearance of Miguel Ángel Pabón Pabón, leader of the social movement for the defense of the Sogamoso River in Colombia.
Miguel Ángel was last seen on October 31 2012. The environmental federation Friends of the Earth International, composed of environmental groups from 76 countries, learned of his disappearance during their Biennial General Assembly in El Salvador.
Please take part in our action in solidarity with Friends of the Earth Colombia and Miguel Ángel Pabón Pabón!
Miguel Ángel, a 36 years old father of two girls, is a dedicated and notable environmentalist, defender of the River Sogamoso and of the fisherfolk and peasant communities in the area. He created the Social Movement for the Defense of the Sogamoso River, together with other leaders of the region in 2008, which has contributed to building awareness among the communities about the terrible consequences of local hydro-electrical projects. He has also participated in demonstrations against the company ISAGEN, denouncing the negative social and environmental consequences that have hurt fisherfolk and peasant communities, and the terrible labour conditions of the workers that are building the hydro project.
In 2011, he was instrumental in the creation of the Columbian Movement in Defense of the Territory and Affected People by Dams “Ríos Vivos”.
Since his disappearance, members of the settlements, peasants and fisherfolk of the region who closely know Miguel, have organized groups (brigades) to search for him in the surrounding areas, including Municipalities of Sabana de Torres, San Vicente, Betulia and Barrancabermeja.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that such a tragedy has happened to the members and leaders who defend the rights of communities in the region. The Observatorio de Paz Integral reported that 11 people have already disappeared in 2012, 6 of whom were subsequently found dead. Several social leaders have been assassinated in the region of the Sogamoso River since 2009. These crimes have been committed with total impunity, with no consequences for the perpetrators.
Friends of the Earth International requests that the Colombian authorities - particularly the Magdalena Medio Police, the National Attorney General, the Ombudspeople, the Municipality of San Vicente, the Regional Attorney, and other entities of Public control - to do everything in their extensive powers to prevent a major tragedy, and to make sure that Miguel Ángel Pabón Pabón is found and returned to his home in good health.
San Salvador, November 9 2012.
Aug 30, 2012
Environmental Injustice – Environmental Nakba
Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) was invited by Friends of the Earth Palestine (Pengon)* to observe the environmental consequences of the Israeli occupation. The Observer Mission took place between August 26 – 29. Bobby Peek of South Africa and Eurig Scandrett of Scotland represented Friends of the Earth International (FoEI).
For two days, Peek and Scandrett met with local mayors, administrators and communities in the West Bank. They witnessed the environmental impact of the Israeli occupation throughout the West Bank. Untreated Israeli sewage and industrial waste contaminates Palestinian land. Water from the West Bank is denied to Palestinians so that Israeli settlers can live on Palestinian land. They also heard stories of the use of military force to destroy Palestinian cisterns and wells.
“The theft of resources and the pollution of land and water are designed to serve only the interests of the apartheid state of Israel. This is nothing short of an environmental nakba**.” said Eurig Scandrett.
FoEI's vision is of a peaceful and sustainable world, where societies live in harmony with nature; a society founded on social, economic, gender, and environmental justice, free from all forms of domination and exploitation. What the FoEI observer mission witnessed in the West Bank was almost the opposite of this vision.
The occupation of Palestinian lands by military might has resulted in the formalisation of the unequal relationship between the peoples of Israel and Palestine. Injustices damaging the health and wellbeing of Palestinian people and their environment will continue as long as this abnormal societal structure exists.
* The Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network- Friends of Earth Palestine (PENGON- FoE Palestine) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in 1996 to serve the Palestinian environment by coordinating the scattered efforts of the different Palestinian NGOs working in the field of environment. Pengon has 14 organisational members
** The word nakba is an Arabic word meaning catastrophe. Since the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948 and the consequential displacement of Palestinians, Palestinians mark Al-Nakba Day on 15 May every year.
Jul 17, 2012
Following his wrongful arrest for murder, our friend and colleague has been set free.
In Paraguay last month, Miguel Correa, a 20 year old working with Friends of the Earth Paraguay was wrongfully arrested after violence broke out during a police-led eviction of peasant farmers.
Shots were fired, resulting in 17 dead and many injured.
Miguel feared that his friend had been injured, so went to the hospital to try and find him. In the confusion he was detained by the police, and wrongfully arrested for murder.
Over the past 48 hours, thousands of Friends of the Earth supporters across the world took action in solidarity with Miguel.
Friends of the Earth demonstrated outside the Paraguayan embassy yesterday to demand his release.
We have just received confirmation that Miguel has now been set free.
This fantastic news is a huge relief for his family and everyone at Friends of the Earth Paraguay.
Thank you for your support and for taking action with us. The pressure really worked.
While we celebrate his freedom, the Paraguayan authorities are yet to respond to our request for a full investigation into the 17 deaths.
We will keep you posted with the latest developments.
Jul 13, 2012
On 21 June 2012, Friends of the Earth International delegates joined a sit-in and walk-out at the entrance of the Rio+20 Summit.
Mar 12, 2012
The Global Report on the Situation of Women Human Rights Defenders is an initiative of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD International Coalition) to articulate the challenges faced by women human rights defenders and how best to respond to them.
The Global Report on the Situation of Women Human Rights Defenders, reflects the growing body of analyses produced by the members of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD International Coalition) since 2005. It demonstrates the challenges to women human rights defenders (WHRDs), the source of these challenges and how best to respond to them.
The use of 43 cases studies, including that of Sandra Viviana Cuéllar Gallego, selected by WHRD International Coalition illuminate specific trends and experiences of WHRDs. The cases provide a vivid glimpse of the landscape in which WHRDs live and work.