David and Goliath: the cost of protecting land rights in Colombia

David and Goliath: the cost of protecting land rights in Colombia

Friday 26 June 2015, 18:30 – 21:00
Amnesty International UK, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London, EC2A 3EA
With speeches by:
Ximena González, Colombian lawyer from Tierra Digna
Louise Winstanley, Programme and Advocacy Manager at ABColombia
Rob Hawke, Advocacy Officer at Peace Brigades International
Jon Barnes, Institute for Human Rights and Business.


Colombian communities located in ‘Strategic mining areas’ confront a variety
of powerful actors from armed guerrilla and paramilitary groups to
multinational corporations in an effort to protect their lands in a constant
‘David and Goliath’ like struggle. This event will look at the difficulties that
these communities face through analyzing legal strategies at a local and
international level, international norms and what protection they offer, and
the supportive work of international NGOs.

Ximena González is an environmental lawyer and founding member of the Colombian NGO Tierra Digna. Tierra Digna provides legal work and support to indigenous, afrodescendent and campesino communities whose rights have been violated by mega projects. Ximena will be speaking about land rights issues related to mining and large-scale extractive projects. Recently Tierra Digna won a landmark, where the Colombian Council of State suspended three executive decisions demarcating 516 specific zones as “Strategic Mining Areas”.

Sue Willman is the Vice Chair of Colombia Caravana UK Lawyers group, and partner at Deighton Pierce Glynn solicitors. She is currently acting in a claim in the UK against BP and other oil companies. This case led to the founding of the project Oil justice to publicise theç impact of Big Oil on the community in Casanare and to help them seek justice. Louise Winstanley is ABColombia Programme and Advocacy Manager. She has worked on Colombia for the last 12 years, initially in-country with PBI and for the last six years with ABColombia. She has written several reports on Colombia, including reports on mining, land and human rights.

Rob Hawke is the Advocacy Officer with Peace Brigades International UK Section. PBI supports human rights defenders at risk in Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Nepal, and Indonesia. Rob was previously a field volunteer in Barrancabermeja, Colombia and will explain the dangers and difficulties that face human rights defenders in these areas. Jon Barnes is the Director of Programmes at the Institute for Human Rights and Business and has a strong background in development and human rights in Latin America. He will speak on the international framework for business and human rights in Colombia.

This is an event by ABColombia in association with Amnesty International UK.

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