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The Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called a hearing for next week about “Forced Displacements and Development Projects” as part of the 153rd period of sessions to be held from October 23rd to November 7th in Washington.
The Hearing, to take place on Monday 27th in Washington, was requested by different social organizations, among them, the “Rios Vivos” Movement for the Defense of the Territory, the Center for Social Justice Studies “Tierra Digna” and Asoquimbo, aiming to inform the Inter American Commission about the different trends and manifestations of the development-related forced displacement in Colombia.
This phenomenon is denied at official level by the Colombian government, which states that the only forms of displacement that take place are those related to the armed conflict, said Miller Dussan in an interview with Real World Radio. Dussan is a professor at Universidad Surcolombiana and an activist member of Asoquimbo, an organization that gathers those affected by the Quimbo Dam, in Huila department on the Magdalena River.
The Hearing is an important space to promote a regional discussion around the development-oriented forced displacement and to make the IACHR understand the scale of the impacts of what is known in Colombia as the mining-energy and agribusiness “development locomotive”.
According to the delegation of organizations traveling to Washington, these human rights violations are worsened by the granting of environmental licenses to foreign companies without environmental alternative analyses, in favor of an intensive extraction of natural resources and the building of infrastructure works.
In addition to the para-state violence experienced in Colombia around the implementation of these projects, which Miller defines as “displacement projects”, the State is accusing the resisting organizations of opposing peace and development, arguing that this will be financed by extractivism, but displacing entire populations from their own territories.
In the interview with Real World Radio, Miller, who will be part of the delegation that will meet with the IACHR on Monday, called on the public to follow the hearing and said that he expects the institution to question extractivism on humanitarian grounds.
The Colombian activist believes that the evidence they will bring to the hearing and what the IACHR interprets of it will serve as the background to understanding the phenomenon of displacement from the territories in other Latin American regions, such as Central America.
In addition, they will request that the Commission creates a team that investigates the actions of the companies that promote these megaprojects and their impacts on the rights of the community. Dussan points out that the companies do not respect the rights of the employees working for them, which should also cause the IACHR to implement actions.
More information about the current sessions at the IACHR, including the appearance of the activists is available online here: http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/
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