Naya Looks Forward: Resisting Exploitation and Reclaiming Ancestral Traditions in Rio Naya

This Land is Their Land: A Case for Indigenous Land Rights

Para la versión en español, haz clic aquí.

Written by Kati Hinman, Human Rights Accompanier at FOR Peace Presence, from San José de Apartadó. Originally published in Charged Affairs. 

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Mountains of Urabá

¨We are sitting on gold,¨ he said, looking out past the few small houses towards the mountains of Urabá, a region of northern Colombia that has been a hotbed of the armed conflict. Having grown up in the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartadó, he was well aware of the price for their land. For 20 years, the Peace Community has remained neutral in the conflict, and non-violently resisted armed actors fighting to dominate their territory. Since the Peace Community’s founding, over 180 of its members have been assassinated,  amongst hundreds of additional human rights violations. After the signing of the peace accords last year, they continue to resist various threats to their rights. The region has a huge reserve of coal, and they fear that multinational corporations will eventually push them out to build mines.


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Esta tierra es nuestra: un caso para los derechos territoriales indígenas

For the English version, click here.

Escrito por Kati Hinman, acompanante internacional de FOR Presente por la Paz, desde San José de Apartadó. Publicado originalmente en Charged Affairs.

Montañas del Urabá

“Estamos sentadxs sobre una mina de oro” dijo, mirando atrás de las pocas casitas las montañas del Urabá, una región situada en el noreste de Colombia que ha sido un semillero del conflicto armado. Al haber crecido en la Comunidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó, estaba bien enterado del precio de la tierra. Durante 20 años ahora, la Comunidad ha permanecido neutral ante el conflicto, resistiendo de manera no violenta a los actores armados luchando para dominar su territorio. Desde su creación, alrededor de 180 miembros han sido asesinados, entre centenas de otras violaciones a los derechos humanos. Después de la firma del acuerdo de paz con las FARC, siguen resistiendo a varias amenazas contra sus derechos. La región tiene una reserva enorme de carbón y temen de que empresas multinacionales podrían desalojarles para explotar minas.


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Communities in Cesar struggle to be heard in public hearing on coal mining

Written by Thomas Power, FOR Peace Presence accompanier. Para la versión en español, haz clic aqui.

We were mistaken in the past. We no longer exchange life for money.” Community members from Boquerón, in central Cesar, Colombia, directed these words at the Colombian environmental licensing agency (ANLA) and transnational coal-mining companies during public hearings on January 28th and February 5th 2016. The multinationals Drummond and Glencore are planning to expand operations, and have solicited ANLA for a modification to their environmental license. In response, affected communities petitioned to hold public hearings on the proposed expansions to make their preoccupations heard.

Boquerón is a traditionally Afro-descendant community. As such, in Colombia the community has the right to prior, free and informed consultation, a process in which the community based on reliable information either refuses or grants its permission to carry out the proposed mining projects. However, as only the departmental and not the national government, has recognized Boquerón’s status as an Afro-descendant community, this right has consistently been denied. Many believe that the government has denied the community this recognition precisely because the right to previous consultation would complicate mining activities in the region, which is an important economic engine in the national government’s eyes and the region’s principal economic activity.


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Comunidades en Cesar luchan por ser escuchadas en audiencias públicas sobre la minería del carbón

Escrito por Thomas Power, acompañante internacional de FOR Presente por la Paz. For the English version, click here.

“Nos equivocamos en el pasado. Ya no damos más vida por plata.” Esas son unas de las palabras de miembros de la comunidad de Boquerón en el departamento de Cesar, Colombia, dirigidas a la Agencia Nacional de Licencias Ambientales (ANLA) y a empresas transnacionales de carbón en audiencias públicas, los 28 de enero y 5 de febrero del 2016. Las transnacionales Drummond y Glencore están preparándose para aumentar sus operaciones y han solicitado a la ANLA modificar sus licencias ambientales. En respuesta, las comunidades afectadas solicitaron audiencias públicas sobre las propuestas de ampliación para hacer escuchar sus preocupaciones.

Boquerón es una comunidad tradicionalmente afrocolombiana. Como tal, tiene derecho a la consulta previa, un proceso en el que la comunidad basada en información fiable se niega o concede su permiso para llevar a cabo las propuestas de proyectos mineros. Sin embargo, ya que sólo el departamento y no el gobierno nacional ha reconocido Boquerón como una comunidad afrocolombiana, este derecho ha sido constantemente negado. Muchxs creen que el gobierno ha negado a la comunidad este reconocimiento precisamente porque el derecho a la consulta previa complicaría las actividades mineras en la región, que son un motor de crecimiento económico importante a los ojos del gobierno nacional y la actividad económica principal de la región.


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Naya Looks Forward: Resisting Exploitation and Reclaiming Ancestral Traditions in Rio Naya

By Sandra Amolo, FOR Peace Presence accompanier. For the Spanish version click here

In Colombia’s Pacific littoral, the struggle for land ownership recently took a positive turn. After 16 years of demanding collective ownership rights, the Colombian government granted 64 Afro-Colombian communities of the Rio Naya Basin title to 177,817 hectares of land. This historic ruling was an important step in recognizing the important role Afro-Colombians play in “preserving, maintaining and promoting the regeneration of protective vegetation, and ensuring the persistence of particularly fragile ecosystems such as mangroves and wetlands.”

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