Due to the serious situation of Afro Colombian communities detailed in this briefing paper, OIDHACO requests the European Union to create a binding legislation to require companies to meet the human rights of Colombians, including Afro-Colombians, subsistence farmers and indigenous peoples.
In their collective territories, Afro-Colombians suffer a disproportionate level of violence related to the internal armed conflict. According to the Codhes, more than 12% of this population is suffering the impacts of forced displacement, and 98.3% of displaced Afro-Colombians live below the poverty line. They also suffer frequent killings, extrajudicial executions, forced recruitment into the conflict and forced disappearances. McDougall has expressed concern about the extremely high level of impunity for these crimes, including 99.8% for the crime of forced displacement, and the absence of reparation for victims. Up to 80% of displaced Afro-Colombians live in the poorest and most dangerous areas of major cities.
Another factor leading to violence and dispossession in territories where Afro-Colombian people live, similar to the situation in the territories of indigenous peoples and subsistence farming communities, is related to the interests of national and transnational corporations to exploit natural resources within these lands. The pressure exerted by companies to implement economic megaprojects in Afro-Colombian territories increases the vulnerability of these communities.
It is urgent that the European Union within the framework of Political Dialogue and Human Rights Dialogue, urge the Colombian government to:
• Strengthen the Early Warning System in the Human Rights Ombudsman´s Office, prioritize the prevention of new forced displacement and the safe return of communities to their lands, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitutional Court (Ruling 005, Ruling 092) and the UN Principles on Restitution (Pinheiro Principles).
• Ensure the protection of Afro-Colombian victims claiming restitution of their lands, in consultation with their representative organisations. Investigate and bring to justice cases of violations of the human rights of Afro-Colombian people
• Conduct real processes of prior consultation with Afro-Colombian communities to ensure the right to free, prior and informed consent. Urgently implement the Constitutional Court ruling T1045A Colombia (Suarez, Cauca), referring to the suspension of mining licenses in the area of La Toma, until a free, prior and informed consultation has been carried out with communities, and other judgments of the Court referring to the rights of Afro-Colombian people
• Comply with the recommendations of the United Nations system including the Universal Periodic Review (2008), the CERD Committee (2009), and the Special Rapporteur on minority issues (Visit to Colombia, 2011)
• Pass legislation to give effect to the provisions of the Constitution relating to non-discrimination that expressly prohibit discrimination based on race and ensure that sufficient resources are available to implement these provisions.
We ask the European Union, as part of its strategy of cooperation and trade policy, to:
• Create a binding legislation to require companies to meet the human rights of Colombians, including Afro-Colombians, subsistence farmers and indigenous peoples
• Include specific support for the implementation of the rights of Afro-Colombian communities in its cooperation strategies for Colombia
For more information see briefing paper attached
This information also exists in French (see joint document) - Cette information existe également en français (voir document ci-dessous)