Amnesty International Canada

Urgent Action

COLOMBIA: Environmental Defenders at Risk 

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Yuvelis Morales and others threatened with death

Human rights defenders from the Magdalena Medio region in southeast Colombia have been subject to multiple threats in recent weeks.

On February 9, unknown men broke into the house of Afro-Colombian environmental defender Yuvelis Morales. She received a death threat the day before and was forced to flee in search of safety. Earlier on February 7, several human rights defenders of the region were also targeted in a pamphlet circulated by an armed paramilitary group self-identified as Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia. The pamphlet ordered the defenders to leave the area or face the consequences. 

Amnesty International is urging the authorities to ensure the safety of all human rights defenders in the region.

Yuvelis Morales (centre) at a community march to protect water ​ (PHOTO: Alianza Colombia Libre de Fracking) 

The Magdalena Medio is a region rich in natural resources. Communities are impacted by the armed conflict and exploitation of hydrocarbon deposits in the region. 

Due to their work, environmental defenders in the region have been threatened, harassed and killed.

According to the Institute for Development and Peace Studies, 13 human rights defenders were killed in Colombia in January of this year alone, all of them linked to the defence of land, territory and the environment. 

Amnesty International has reported on the failed prevention and protection policies of the Colombian governemnt that contribute to an unsafe environment for human rights defenders.

Please call on the Minister of the Interior to ensure the protection of environmental defenders in Colombia!

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