Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Colombia's mining boom overshadowed by human rights violations

It's been quite a while since I posted here.... Let's just say that PBI has kept me quite busy. One of the things keeping me so busy was a report on the human rights implications of Colombia's mining boom (PDF), published last week. Below is some good media coverage of the report, with several quotes from yours truly, on the English-language news site Colombia Reports. I have an idea or two for original new blog posts, so stay tuned! -Moira

Colombia's mining boom overshadowed by human rights violations: NGO

The apparent success of Colombia's mining boom is being overshadowed by human rights violations and mass displacement from mining areas, international human right organization Peace Brigades International (PBI) said Monday.

"80% of the human rights violations that have occurred in Colombia in the last ten years were committed in mining and energy-producing regions, and 87% of Colombia’s displaced population originate from these places," a report by the organization published last week said.

According to PBI spokesperson Moira Birss, mining activities are frequently accompanied by a disregard of the constitutional rights of minorities and threats and attacks on leaders of these communities.

"Community leaders who oppose mining projects, or the organizations that accompany those leaders and communities, have at times been targeted with threats and even attacks in what would appear to be a result of their opposition, as was the case with the priest who was killed in Marmato," said Birss, referring to an area where mining company Gran Colombia Gold and the local community are at odds over who has the rights to mine for gold.