Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Email Action Alert: Biofuels, Land Confiscation, And Murder in Columbia

An urgent e-action from biofuelwatch...

There is a new email action alert on Climate Ark calling on the Colombian government to protect the rights of Afro-Caribbean, indigenous and other peasant communities and the country's rainforests against palm oil expansion, which is happening mainly to serve the growing global biofuel market. This alert was written jointly with the Colombian Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace, following a seminar in Bogota in August

Colombia is embarking on an aggressive biofuel and palm oil expansion programme, which is threatening communities and some of the most bio diverse ecosystems on earth. One of my colleagues from Biofuelwatch took part in the seminar and in a visit to one of the palm oil areas (Curvarado) last month.

This is land which legally belongs to Afro-Caribbean communities. Those people became refugees in the late 1990s, due to severe violence and repression from state forces. 113 killings have been documented. When they returned to their land, they found much of it planted with oil palms. They have cut down some of the oil palms to grow food now and are trying to set up 'biodiversity zones', but they live in constant fear of state forces and paramilitaries who work hand in hand with the palm oil companies.

There is a good article by a member of the World Rainforest Movement who also took part in the seminar and visit - you can find it at (click on 'Bulletin' on the left hand side and then on the article about Colombia).

The author says:
"There are few places in the world where oil palm trees are tainted with as much blood as in Curvaradó and the only way of starting to repair the outrages committed is for the Government to legally recognize these communities' rights to their lands."

A video presentation is available--from a Camp for Climate Action workshop--where a first hand witness to the violence being used talks about his trip to columbia as part of an emergency delegation (about half way through the video).

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