Stop the Displacement of more than 5,000 Farming, Indigenous and AfroColombian Community Members in Piñuña Negro, Putumayo, Colombia!

December 15, 2009

Please take a moment to contact the Colombian Embassy, the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as your US Representative about this urgent matter. Following is a sample email or phone call script:

I am deeply concerned about the displacement of over 5,000 farming, indigenous and AfroColombian community members from Piñuña Negro in the Colombian Department of Putumayo. This situation is caused by the forced eradication of coca crops with no meaningful replacement programs being provided. The situation in Piñuña Negro is a humanitarian crisis, leaving thousands of persons hungry and homeless. Right now 5,263 community members are gathered at the local Police Inspection Station calling for the assault on their lands to cease.

We join their demand for an end to the eradication underway in Piñuña Negro and throughout Putumayo. We support the community’s call for local and national government to negotiate with their representatives for the provision of substitution crops, markets and the necessary infrastructure for family farmers to stay on their lands. We also insist the Colombian government give protective security to community leaders during and after negotiations.

We call on US government officials to use their influence tostop this assault on the people of Piñuña Negro and to end US funding of Plan Colombia and its eradication programs that provide no economic alternatives for family farmers.

PLEASE EMAIL OR CALL THE FOLLOWING:

Your U.S. Representative:
CLICK HERE FOR CONTACT INFO

Colombian Embassy in the US:
embassyofcolombia@colombiaemb.org
Phone: (202)-387-8338

Interamerican Commission for Human Rights.
Email: cidhoea@oas.org

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Email: oacnudh@hchr.org.co

FENSUAGRO’S ALERT–MORE DETAILED INFORMATION

Following is a copy of the alert we received from our partners in Fensuagro. Fensuagro a federation of agricultural and aquacultural unions and cooperatives and is the largest such organization in Colombia. This alert originated with a member association.

PUTUMAYO AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATION OF FARMERS AND FARM WORKERS (ASSOCIATION CAMPESINA AGRÍCOLA DEL PUTUMAYO) “ASCAP”
Nit. 900105137-7
Piñuña Negro Departament of Putumayo

Police Inspection Office of Piñuña Negro, December 10, 2009.

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT

We are the communities of Indigenous and African descended farmers and farm workers represented in the Putumayo Agricultural Association of Farmers and Farm Workers (Asociación Campesina Agrícola del Putumayo) – ASCAP, located in the Police Inspection Office[1] of Piñuña Negro district. We denounce before the National and International community the situation that threatens us by means of the forced eradications that are under way in the Department of Putumayo, in the counties of Perla Amazonica; Piñuña Blanco of the Municipality of Puerto Asís, and Piñuña Negro in the county of Puerto Ospina of the Municipality of Puerto Leguizamo.

1. Since October 19, 2009, we of the farming, indigenous and AfroColombian communities saw the necessity of displacing ourselves to the central area of the Police Inspection Office of Piñuña Negro of the municipality of Puerto Leguizamo, in order to demand that the Municipal, Departmental and National Governments give immediate attention before the forced manual eradication that has been implemented in these areas since the month of October, 2009, that affect these communities. The National Government has no contingency plane to solve the food and humanitarian crisis that comes as a result of the system of eradication and that is not done in concert with the farming, indigenous and Afrocolombian communities of this area of Putumayo.

2. Today, December 10, 2009, after 50 days, in the Police Inspection Office of Piñuña Negro of the Municipality of Puert Leguizamo, there were concentrated the following persons: 828 boys, 1,024 girls, 1,868 men (among them elderly adults) 1,543 women (among the women, 20% being pregnant). They are hoping that the National Government might sit down to dialogue and listen to the needs and solutions to the same, such as what we had planned through the INTEGRATED PLAN FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT, that it gather up what is needed for the farming, indigenous and Afrocolombian communities of the Department of Putumayo, that are represented in the 5,263 persons that have left today, heroically, to defend the right to remain on their plots of land, the rights to be in their territories and, above all, to continue contributing to the social and economic development of the region.

WE DEMAND THAT THE LOCAL AND NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS:

1. Send representatives to the Police Inspection Office of Piñuña Negro in order to listen to the needs of the farming, indigenous and Afrocolombian communities;
1. Immediately attend to the humanitarian crisis provoked by the forced eradication, the violation of human rights by part of the public forces stationed in the zone of Putumayo River;
2. Immediately implement the alternative programs of production that would permit the stability of the farming, indigenous and Afrocolombian families in the Department of Putumayo;
3. Guarantee, during and after the negotiation process, the security of the farming, indigenous and Afrocolombian leaders and directors who represent us;
4. Guarantee the fundamental rights, like those considered in the national constitution, of the farmers and farm workers of the communities that inhabit the Police Inspection Office of Piñuña Negro, Municipality of Puerto Leguizamo and communities of the Department of Putumayo;

WE SOLICIT THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO:

1) Maintain an ongoing observation concerning human rights and the critical food and nutritional situation for those who come through the farming, indigenous and Afrocolombian communities in the Municipality of Puerto Leguizamo and all the communities of Putumayo.
2) Demand that the National Governments respect the Human Rights of the farming population in general belonging to the counties of the Perla Amazónica, Piñuña Blanco of the Municipality of Puerto Asís and the communities of the Police Inspection Office of Piñuña Negro and the county of Puerto Ospina of the Municipality of Puerto Leguizamo of the Department of Putumayo.

We call on the national and international community and on the social, labor and human rights organizations to reject all types of actions such as the forced eradication, that injure the integrity of the farming, indigenous and Afrocolombian people of Putumayo

since they have not been coordinated with the communities. Therefore we solicit [the national and international community] to continue following and monitoring the grave situation of the violation of human rights that is moving through this region.

PUTUMAYO AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATION OF FARMERS AND FARM WORKERS “ASCAP”

JOSE HARRY RENDON LOAIZA
President
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[1]A police inspection station refers to a Colombian governmental division that is smaller unit than a municipality or a township. The highest government official in the area is the police inspector.