The International Office for Human Rights Action on Colombia

Peace in colombia will not be possible without the protection of rural community

Instead of fostering agro-industrial projects for export, the EU should rather give political and economic support to peasant initiatives”

This week marks international days for food, rural women, and eradication of poverty. Rural women are among the main victims of the conflict: 80% of the more than five millions of internally displaced persons are women, children and young people. Women are the main persons in charge of small-scale farming. But this has become more and more difficult, mainly due to land grabbing related to mining extraction and agro industrial projects, as well as to the dynamics of the armed conflict.

Development – Environment and Human Rights in Colombia

Document redacted on the occasion of the hearing of the Committee on International Trade (INTA) of the European Parliament on the EU-Colombia-Peru Multiparty Agreement on 29 February 2012.

The document presents the situation with respect to the following topics: Poverty and inequality, Labour rights and violence against trade unions, Environment, Right to food, Lands, Indigenous, Peoples and Afro-Colombians, General human rights situation

Newsletter 11

When the state intimidates, persecutes and issues threats DAS’s illegal espionage strategy In February 2009, the Colombian press uncovered the scandal of illegal phone-tapping by DAS…

In February 2009, the Colombian press uncovered the scandal of illegal phone-tapping by DAS (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad – Administrative Security Department); the targets are human rights defenders, journalists, opposition politicians, and Supreme Court judges. Since then, more information has come to light and more allegations made, thanks in part to the Fiscalía (Attorney General’s Office) which seized documents from DAS during a formal search.

Newsletter 13

Genuine agrarian counter-reform in Colombia That is how many analysts describe what has been happening in the Colombian countryside in recent decades. A few official statistics are enough to show the extent of the problem.

That is how many analysts describe what has been happening in the Colombian countryside in recent decades.  A few official statistics are enough to show the extent of the problem.  In 1984, 32.7% of the country’s cultivable area was concentrated in the hands of 0.5% of landowners; in 1996, 0.4% of landowners held 44.6% of this area; and, currently, 0.43% of them own 44.6% of cultivable land.  In contrast, 57.87% of landowners own barely 1.66% of the land.  Over the course of 25 years, the armed conflict has been used to increase the concentration of land ownership, Colombia being the country with the second highest number of displaced people in the world, after Sudan.  The displacement of campesinos, indigenous people and Afro-Colombians has not been simply a by-product of the conflict but rather a specific war aim.  In the banana-growing areas of Antioquian Urabá, armed men offered campesinos 250,000 pesos per hectare of land, when the price was four times this figure; those who would not sell up were threatened, suffered extortion and were frequently murdered.  The paramilitary leader known as ‘HH’ admitted to having murdered almost 1,600 people in the region in just two or three years.  Through massacres committed in full view of the population, thousands of people were displaced, with their lands falling into the hands of the killers, or those who succeeded them.  Raúl Emilio Hazbún Mendoza, another paramilitary leader and owner of a banana company, who controlled the region for over 10 years, has admitted to close and longstanding links with the army and the police, with the large landowners and multinationals which had invested in the area under his control.  Chiquita Brands was fined 25 million dollars in the United States for making payments to the paramilitaries, but its directors have never been brought to justice in Colombia.