Step up safety for activists who problem huge enterprise in Colombia

“Severe threats, together with loss of life threats, are commonplace in Colombia for defenders who increase considerations about company exercise, particularly in land-intensive industries,” said Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, in a press release issued on Thursday. 

The consultants drew consideration to the state of affairs of Pedro Jose Velasco Tumiña, an indigenous Misak defender who has been receiving threats for his advocacy on land points. 

In opposition to detrimental impacts 

Since final July, members of the Misak and Nasa indigenous peoples, in addition to campesino communities, have held protests within the Cauca Division, positioned within the southwest, on land owned by Smurfit-Kappa, a world chief in paper packaging. 

As of 2021, the Irish firm managed over 67,000 hectares in Colombia, primarily comprised of pine and eucalyptus plantations. 

The protesters have denounced the detrimental impacts of Smurfit-Kappa’s use of land within the nation on human rights and the setting. They’re advocating for the simply implementation of land reform provisions underneath the historic 2016 Peace Settlement that ended 5 a long time of battle with FARC rebels in Colombia. 

The indigenous communities assert their proper to reclaim land owned by Smurfit-Kappa in keeping with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Mr. Velasco Tumiña started receiving loss of life threats in August 2021, the consultants mentioned. He even travelled to the Irish capital, Dublin, earlier this yr to speak his considerations to the corporate. Upon returning house, he acquired one other loss of life risk. 

The consultants mentioned a minimum of one particular person has been killed for the reason that land motion started, with a person allegedly shot by safety forces throughout a protest final August. 

Accountability to guard 

“The State should fulfil its duty to guard human rights and examine any allegations of violations,” they mentioned. “The threats towards Pedro are horrendous and should be taken severely, as should the problems he and others are elevating.” 

The UN consultants additionally provided recommendation to the brand new Colombian authorities which takes workplace on Sunday. 

“With a purpose to guarantee companies respect human rights, the incoming Authorities ought to encourage corporations to have interaction constructively with human rights defenders. Corporations, for his or her half, ought to publicly state their willingness to take action, even when the defenders’ advocacy considerations the corporate’s personal operations,” they mentioned. 

About UN consultants 

The consultants who issued the assertion have been Ms. Lawlor; Francisco Cali Tzay, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, and members of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights

They acquired their mandates from the UN Human Rights Council, which is positioned in Geneva. They serve of their particular person capability and are neither UN workers, nor are they paid for his or her work. 

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