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Environmental Human Rights: News & Updates

News Article

The Alliance for Global Justice expresses deep concern about the security situation in the ETCR Dagoberto Ortiz in Colombia. The community faces constant threats, leading to the murder of six members. They call for a roundtable to establish lasting peace and propose relocation due to ongoing violence. The Alliance supports their initiatives and urges the Colombian State to provide protection, emphasizing the necessity of total peace in Colombia. They commend the efforts of Gustavo Petro's administration but urge not to overlook the plight of ETCR Dagoberto Ortiz residents.

News Article

The increasing number of asylum seekers arriving at the southern U.S. border, driven by violence, poverty, conflict, and climate crisis, is putting immense strain on border communities. Representative Jesús "Chuy" García of Illinois points out that decades of U.S. military interventions, sanctions, and the failed war on drugs have significantly contributed to this migration, especially from South and Central America. He emphasizes the need for a compassionate response and addressing the root causes of migration. Meanwhile, Fernando García, the executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights, highlights the frustrating situation at the border, with repeated crises and inadequate responses. He criticizes the lack of investment in welcoming infrastructure and services for migrants and condemns the political exploitation of the crisis by figures like Governor Greg Abbott of Texas. Both García and García stress the necessity of multilateral cooperation and ending interventionist policies to resolve the ongoing migration challenges.

News Article

A leaked intelligence report from El Salvador's National Civil Police reveals that, despite a year and a half of anti-gang operations, approximately 43,000 individuals allegedly linked to gangs remain at large. The report, dated Sept. 1, 2023, shows that 36% of these individuals, totaling 42,826, are yet to be apprehended, with over 20,000 being active gang members. President Nayib Bukele's "state of exception" declaration, which suspended constitutional rights to capture alleged criminals, led to the arrest of 72,000 suspected gang members but also raised concerns about human rights abuses. The report highlights discrepancies in the government's narrative, indicating that many detainees are not high-ranking gang leaders. Rights groups question the government's tactics and the mass trials planned for those still in custody.

News Article

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has declared a one-month economic, social, and environmental emergency in La Guajira, a desert region in northeast Colombia. This declaration allows for crucial investments in education, health, tourism, and water supply. La Guajira is a major energy source for Colombia, with a coal mining industry and potential for wind farms. The region is also home to the Wayúu indigenous reservation, which has long suffered neglect as energy companies extracted resources without benefiting the Wayúu.

Representing a fifth of the country’s indigenous population, Wayúu communities in La Guajira face extreme poverty, malnutrition, and a lack of access to clean water due to the dry climate. President Petro's initiative aims to develop renewable energy while ensuring wealth redistribution to the indigenous population. Historically, extractive industries have left locals impoverished while generating billions in profits.

The Cerrejón coal mine, a major player in the region, has caused environmental damage, displaced families, and disrupted traditional hunting paths. President Petro's Pact for a Fair Energy Transition prioritizes water for human consumption over irrigation or mining, marking a significant shift in Colombian policy.

News Article

Concerns have been raised about the safety of social leaders and indigenous communities in Colombia. The international community is urged to support the 2016 peace accord, specifically the Ethnic Chapter and the Commission for Security Guarantees, and aid the peace dialogue with the National Liberation Army (ELN). The Colombian government needs to enhance support for indigenous and cimarrona guards within ethnic territories. Authorities must bring perpetrators of violence against social leaders to justice, reform the National Protection Unit, and implement efficient, culturally sensitive protection measures. U.S. policymakers are called upon to denounce abuses publicly and demand protection for at-risk individuals and communities. Two critical cases involve threats against investigative journalist Gonzalo Guillén and lawyer Roberto Mauricio Rodríguez of La Nueva Prensa and anti-corruption activist Alexander Chala Saenz, the Political Chief of the Corporation of retired military veterans for Colombia

News Article

In the small town of Aguanqueterique in central Honduras' Dry Corridor, a once-vibrant soccer field now sits empty due to the migration of young people seeking better opportunities in larger cities or the United States. This migration is driven by a lack of jobs and opportunities in the region. Changing rainfall patterns and persistent droughts have resulted in failed harvests, further pushing people to leave their homeland.

Honduras is at the forefront of climate adaptation. The country focuses on building resilience and adapting to the challenges posed by a rapidly warming world, with water scarcity being a primary concern. Many farmers confirmed that having access to water is essential for their survival and ability to stay in their communities. However, the Central American country is highly vulnerable to climate change. Severe droughts and even powerful storms have caused extensive damage.

Local organizations like Catholic Relief Services are working to assist subsistence farmers in adapting to climate change by providing agricultural tools and techniques. Water is identified as a crucial resource not only for agriculture but also for community well-being, food security, and hygiene. Water issues are deeply connected with the lives of the people in this region, making access to water a critical concern.

News Article

Law enforcement agencies in Atlanta conducted a violent operation to clear a protest encampment in the Weelaunee Forest, resulting in the death of Indigenous Venezuelan activist Manuel Paez Terán. Terán was protesting against the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, known as Cop City, on the forest land. Despite his death, the authorities continued the clearing operation, using excessive force against protesters. The incident marked the first known instance of state forces in the United States killing an environmental protester. In Central America, similar violence against land and water defenders has been alarmingly common, with governments often using terrorism charges to suppress dissent. The U.S. has historically played a role in promoting economic policies benefiting exploitative industries, while also training and supporting security forces that repress opposition. U.S.-backed police and military training programs have contributed to the rise of elite police units involved in extrajudicial killings. Despite these challenges, activists in both the United States and Central America continue to resist environmental destruction and militarization, advocating for alternatives to the existing oppressive systems.

News Article

Nicaraguan religious leaders are outraged by President Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo's self-identification as Christians while their government suppresses dissent and seizes religious properties. The crackdown, which began in 2018, has resulted in deaths, imprisonments, and loss of citizenship for critics. The Catholic Church has suffered under Ortega's regime, with surveillance, intimidation, and threats against clergy and worshippers. Religious freedom has deteriorated, leading to fear and self-censorship. The situation has caused division and suffering in Nicaraguan society, with a lack of reliable information. The sister interviewed fears for her safety but speaks out for the people of Nicaragua and calls for international attention to their plight.

 

 

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