Colombia: Land rights defenders remain under threat

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Spanish language interview with Afro-Colombian lawyer Rosalba Castillo, representative of the Colombian rights federation Afroamerica 21, which is an accredited member of the the civil society consultative group of the Organization of American States.

Among the themes discussed are ongoing state neglect and marginalization of Afro-Colombian populations, and the disposession of communally titled Afro-Colombian ancestral lands by armed groups who occupy the territories (which are then used by coca-cultivators and multi-national companies involved in mining and African palm plantations.)

Along with Colombia's groundbreaking Victims' Law, which promises land return and compensation to the affected, the interview also provides an overview of the current condition of rural and urban Afro-Colombians. This includes information on the ongoing recruitment of adolescents by guerillas, paramilitaries and so called "criminal gangs" as well as state policy of placing a robust police and army presence in Afro-descendant communities while simultaneously ignoring all calls for much needed social services and economic development programs.  

With over a dozen land rights activists  assassinated in 2011 the interview also sheds light on the process of systematic intimidation of those involved in human rights work.  It refers to the fact that Afroamerica 21 in general and the interviewee in particular have been told by the country's  most active paramilitary group, that they are now on the target list for elimination unless they desist from efforts at community development and defence of the rights of Afro-Colombian populations.

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Date: 27/10/2011

Countries:

Colombia

Categories:

Culture and Tradition
Statelessness
Children/Youth
Violence/Conflict
Poverty
Racism/Discrimination/Hate speech
Refugees/Displacement/Migrants
Law/Legislation
Advocacy
War
Campaigns
Natural resources
Land Rights

Press Contact Information

Name: Rosalba Castillo; Afroamerica XXI

Email: rosacv@yahoo.com

Telephone: Mobile +57 317- 430 -1917

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