WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

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5 Nov 2021 | News

Justice is Delayed for Victims of Colombia’s National Strike

Below you will find a summary of the recent Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) hearing on the status of its recommendations to Colombia concerning the recent abuses that took place within the national strike protests earlier this year. Also, we share with you concerning situations we’ve received that require your attention.

Colombia Fails to Advance IACHR ‘s Recommendations
On October 26, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held a follow-up hearing on the status of its July 7 recommendations to the Colombian state, which were a result of a working visit to Colombia to monitor the human rights situation in the midst of the national strike. The hearing was requested by over 25 civil society organizations, who reported that the state has failed to implement these recommendations and urged the IACHR to establish a follow-up mechanism and schedule visits to the country. The Colombian state asserted its opposition to establishing an IACHR follow-up mechanism. 

In his testimony, Luis Carlos Montenegro from the Defend the Liberty Campaign (CampañaDefender la Libertad, Un Asunto de Todas) drew attention to the continued pattern of police violence against peaceful demonstrators in the months after the IACHR’s visit. He emphasized how throughout August, September, and October, the Colombian state continued to stigmatize and prosecute social leaders and human rights defenders for their community work. He also noted how the systematic, disproportionate aggressions by the riot police ESMAD have not ceased. Montenegro reported that between April 28 and September 28, the Campaign registered at least 7,394 human rights violations, including wide-spread instances of gender-based violence, arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, and homicides. To further corroborate his testimony, Montenegro highlighted how other independent international missions have verified this precarious situation in Colombia and raised concerns about the obstructed access to justice for victims of state-sanctioned violence. Sandra Luna from the Pacific Route of Women (Ruta Pacífica de Mujeres) added to the civil society testimony by outlining that the state has IACHR mechanisms at its disposition to follow-up with the implementation of the recommendations; these mechanisms would help the state comply with its international humanitarian obligations and include a gender and differentiated focus to monitor said implementation. Additional organizations like the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective further agreed with this need for a more scrutinized follow-up. 

Carlos Arturo Morales, the Colombian Vice Minister for Multilateral Affairs, began the state portion of the testimony by lauding Colombia’s “pluralistic, participatory democracy that upholds the rule of law.” While he recognized the right to social protest, he emphasized the impact of protest tactics like blockades, which he claimed had grave effects on food and medical security, especially during the peak of the pandemic. He condemned the destruction of public infrastructure like transportation and government buildings, while also condemning all types of violence including excesses by public forces. Though he denounced human rights abuses, he stated that “the data [of violations] presented by civil society does not coincide with that of the state.” Morales then affirmed the state’s commitment to complying with its human rights obligations in accordance with the IACHR, while simultaneously refusing the technical assistance that could be provided by the IACHR. He stated, “a follow-up mechanism is not a relevant method for the Colombian state.” 

Although the state claimed to have upheld several of the IACHR’s recommendations, many of the IACHR’s Commissioners noted otherwise. State entities have failed to apply effective ethnic and gender approaches to monitoring state-perpetrated abuses. Commissioner Flavia Piovesan questioned why the state is not collecting disaggregated data on the violence that occurred in the context of protests against women, Indigenous, Afro-Colombians, and LGBT+ people, and why it has not adopted a response to combat these discriminatory practices. Commissioner Joél Hernández focused on the root causes of the protests. He wants to see the state adopt measures at the highest level that address the historical demands that were made visible during the nationwide protests. IACHR President Antonia Urrejola expressed concern with the disparities between civil society and state data, pointing out that civil society has registered 87 homicides in the context of the protests while the Attorney General’s office has only reported 29 deaths. She also encouraged deeper efforts of dialogue. At the end of the hearing, the civil society organizations reiterated the urgency of installing the IACHR’s follow-up mechanism and expressed their willingness to support the multilateral entity in whatever is required to ensure its effectiveness. 

Cauca Department’s Most Violent Weekend of 2021 To Date (Cauca)
Between October 16 and 17, Cauca department recorded the assassinations of more than 20 people, making that weekend the most violent for the department in 2021 thus far. Gangs and dissident armed actors killed children, innocent civilians, social leaders, human rights defenders, community council members, and union leaders, carrying out this violence in 10 of 42 municipalities in the department. The Ombudsman’s Office had previously warned that social leaders and human rights defenders throughout the department face deep security risks. The UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights has also urged the state to comprehensively address the security situation. In response to the weekend violence, Cauca Governor Elías Larrahondo Carabalí publicly rejected it and even offered a reward for one of the many incidents that occurred. However, analysts at the Office of Peace and Reconciliation (Fundación Paz y Reconciliación), an NGO, underscore how the regional and national governments only attempt short-term solutions to address the nation’s complex violence with illegal armed groups and illicit drug trafficking. Ultimately, these short-term solutions do not provide long-term safety guarantees for social leaders and organizations in Cauca department. The Duque administration has failed to enact a comprehensive strategy for their security.  

Union Leader Remains Disappeared (North Santander)
On September 10, unknown actors forcibly disappeared Rodolfo Galvis, a member of the Agro-Industrial Peacebuilding Cooperative (Precooperativa Agroindustrial Semilleros de Paz de Colombia) and a human rights defender. The social leader’s disappearance occurred within the region’s broader context of violence, which has recently seen the murder of 39 people, the disappearances of two people, the kidnapping of eight people, direct threats against 54 people, and various attempted murders. Additionally, on September 5, illegal groups forcibly removed 150 Campesinos, 45 of whom were children, and threatened 20 social leaders, causing them to flee their hamlets in Cúcuta municipality, North Santander department. Local and national authorities have failed to address the situation of violence in the Catatumbo region. Therefore, the community requests that the Ombudsman’s Office send representatives to address the needs of the civilian population and for the Attorney General’s Office to carry out investigative work to locate Rodolfo Galvis, clarify his forced disappearance, and punish those responsible for this grave human rights violation. 

Indigenous Mayor Killed (Cauca)
On October 23, armed men murdered Nazaria Calamb’as Tunubalá, the mayor of the Indigenous Misak community. The Misak women publicly denounced this egregious murder and denounced the increasing violence against them and their communities, demanding the National Government for protection measures.

Paramilitary Commander Threatens and Internally Displaces LGBT+ Activist (Córdoba)
On July 15, a Gulf Clan paramilitary commander known as alias ‘Pablo’ threatened Néstor Moreno, the Director of Corporation Córdoba Diverse (Corporación Córdoba Diversa)—a local LGBT+ rights organization in Montería, Córdoba department. The paramilitary commander threatened Moreno for his work, much of which focuses on empowering LGBT+ people in rural communities and training public sector employees on how to address violence against the LGBT+ community. In a recorded phone call, the paramilitary commander told Moreno he’s “giving him the opportunity to stop all his work inside and outside of Montería,” or else face the consequences of the paramilitary’s visit to his family’s home. Immediately following this threat, Moreno filed a claim with the Victims Unit (Unidad para la Atención y Reparación Integral a las Víctimas). Despite that, he was forced to internally displace to Bogotá in August in fear of his safety and filed another claim documenting his displacement. He is currently without a security scheme and fears for his life. 

Family of Assassinated Social Leader Attacked (Valle del Cauca)
On October 19, unidentified actors fired three shots into the home of the relatives of the previously murdered social leader Joan Sebastián Bonilla, endangering his brother Luis Carlos Bonilla in Cali, Valle del Cauca department. As detailed by WOLA in late August, on July 22, a hitman shot Joan Sebastián Bonilla 13 times, who was accompanied by German citizen Rebecca Sprösser. Before his death, the International Mission S.O.S verified that the leader had received many death threats, direct attacks, and intimidations against himself and his family. The status of the criminal investigation is unknown, and the media has only increased disinformation to relinquish the state actors’ alleged collaboration with the responsible criminal circles. The Colombian state continues to be ineffective in responding to its duty to guarantee and protect the dignity of Joan Bonilla and the safety of his family. 

Guerrilla Murder Indigenous Social Leader (Chocó)
On October 19, members of the National Liberation Army (Ejército Nacional de Liberación, ELN) guerrilla assassinated community leader and Cimarrona Indigenous Guard member in Litoral de San Juan, Chocó department. 

Armed Actors Murder Young Adults in an Increasing Wave of Violence (Cauca and Nariño)
Beginning on October 18, the Cauca and Nariño departments experienced a series of murders of young adults. These nine victims include two unidentified male adolescents, who were supposedly found with firearms; two unidentified Venezuelan men with a sign saying “thieves and extortionists; Marco Tulio Casso and Evaristo Peña, who were found with their hands tied on the side of the road; and two young adults who were killed due to alleged suspicions that they were a part of dissident groups. In addition to these atrocities, an assassination attempt against a man led to the murder of his three-year-old daughter.  Currently, authorities are offering 15 million pesos for anyone with information leading to the culprits of the previously documented murders, which demonstrate an increasing trend of violence in the region.

Children Dying of Hunger and Thirst due to Government Neglect (La Guajira)
On October 17, Bogotá Archbishop Luis José Rueda called for the government and the local church to denounce and address the malnourishment and contaminated water in La Guajira department, which is threatening 16,000 children that are under the age of five. Since September 20, three protesters in Bolívar Plaza located in Bogotá have been on hunger strike to call attention to the 115 children and toddlers that have died since January. Vice-Interior Minister Carlos Alberto Baena met with hunger strikers; however, no follow-up has taken place. The actual number of children who have died due to malnutrition is suspected to be higher, as many parents in these rural regions do not have the ability to report the deaths to authorities and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation.  Government neglect and alleged corruption within the local government have left children in a dire situation that will worsen after implementing the Duque administration’s 2022 budget, which will leave the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar, ICBF) with a $290 million budget deficit. At this time, in efforts to pressure government-based support, Congress has agreed to reduce mining royalties paid to the La Guajira department, which produces approximately 90% of Colombia’s fossil fuels.

Paramilitary Activity Continues to Terrorize Rural Peace Community (Antioquia)
On October 18, the San José de Apartadó (SJA) peace community circulated a bulletin outlining reports of ongoing paramilitary activity in their territory. Much of this activity is allegedly supported by political and economic interests, which is why this paramilitary violence is left unchecked. The SJA peace community was created in April 1997 when rural leaders came together to implement international humanitarian law and the principle of distinction for non-combatants in the territory, designating the area free of all armed groups, including legal public security forces. Local forums helped establish rules that asked community members to disengage from violence, and also leaders began to form communal projects. Despite these mechanisms, paramilitary—and alleged collaboration by state forces—continues to plague the region. In this latest bulletin, the SJA peace community detailed 11 different situations between September 20 and October 16.

Report Stresses Precarious Situation for Social Leaders in Northeastern Colombia
On October 7, the Colombia-Europe-United States Coordination (Coordinación Colombia-Europa-Estados Unidos, CCEEU), the Observatory of Peace and Human Rights of Corporación Compromiso, the Observatory of Arauca from the Joel Sierra Human Rights Foundation, and the Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (Corporación Regional para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, CREDHOS) in Magdalena Medio published a recent report detailing the precarious situation faced by social leaders and unionists in northeastern Colombia, particularly throughout 2020 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report stresses how the pandemic, as well as the state’s repression of ongoing social protests, exacerbated the persecution, threats, and assassinations against human rights defenders in the region. The organizations emphasize, with data pulled from on the ground testimonies and regional and media reports, how the policies advanced by the current government are subverting efforts to consolidate peace. With contextual analysis, as well as specific data about the effects of this violence on LGBT+ people, the organizations anticipate the report will contribute to demanding from the state actual protection measures for social leaders, human rights defenders, and territorial defenders.

Armed Actors Murder Youth Artists (Antioquia)
On October 20, armed actors murdered youth artists Elkin Emilio Gil Jiménez, Santiago Cobo Arcila, Santiago Guarín and Cristian Estiven Quintero. Following the murder of these four artists in San Rafael municipality, Antioquia department, young people, teachers, and family members are calling for youth and different artistic expressions not to be stigmatized, as well as demanding guarantees to live in peace. 

Social Leader Found Dead After Missing for Four Days (Valle del Cauca)
On October 17, after being disappeared for four days, the body of social leader Victor Orlando Mosquera was found dead with stab wounds in eastern Calí, Cauca department. Prior to his death, he led the organization Ethnic Return to the Countryside (Huerta Étnica Retorno al Campo) and had also participated in the national strike demonstrations. Authorities have allegedly begun investigations into his killing. The community, along with his colleagues, asks the authorities not to abandon its vulnerable citizens.

Human Rights Defenders Denounce Threats from Paramilitary (Antioquia)
Since prior to October 4, the Gulf Clan paramilitary has continuously threatened human rights defenders Carlos Arcila and Julio Rengifo after they publicized the case of an eight-year-old boy who was disappeared, tortured, and murdered in February 2020. The human rights defenders and the groups they belong to asked for protection from the National Government but have not received it. NGO Human Rights Watch has accompanied the case, as well as the official petition to the Attorney General’s Office, and urged the government to be proactive in protecting their lives.

Network Denounces Threats Against Human Rights Defenders (Putumayo)
On October 4, the Human Rights Network of Putumayo condemned an ongoing streak of threats against human right defenders by illegal armed groups in the region. The Network has documented over 50 different threats in the past weeks and noted that the National Protection Unit (Unidad Nacional de Protección, UNP) had yet to provide protection measures. Additionally, local authorities have held security councils and are requesting the presence of the Ministry of Defense to take action against the homicides registered in Bajo Putumayo during the last week. 

Social Leader Detained (Cauca)
On September 28, in Popayán, Cauca department, state security forces arrested Jimmy Alexander Moreno, the national spokesperson for the Peoples’ Congress (Congreso de los Pueblos); the Agrarian, Campesino, Ethnic and Popular Summit (Cumbre Agraria, Campesina, Étnica y Popular); and member of the National Strike Committee (Comité Nacional de Paro). The leader’s arrest is a part of the larger systematic criminalization against Colombia’s social and political movements, which has mainly affected Campesino and environmental leaders, defenders of the peace accord, and supporters of social protest. On October 6, authorities finally released Moreno after a judge found no substantial evidence linking him to illegal groups. The arrest continues to raise concerns about the larger pattern of situations where the government criminalizes social movement work.

Indigenous Leader Murdered (Chocó)
On September 20, unknown actors murdered community leader Dilio Bailarín on a biodiversity refuge. Previously, he had received threats from armed groups such as the ELN and the Gulf Clan. Despite the precautionary measures that had been enacted for Bailarín and the community, the Colombian government failed to uphold the necessary safety protections. This lack of action also coincided with its refusal to support a Global Humanitarian Agreement that could safeguard human lives in the region. On October 25, the CIJP denounced the situation.

Indigenous Man Killed (Cauca)
On September 20, an unknown actor shot and killed Indigenous man José Leandro Cayapú while he rode his motorcycle in Caldono municipality, Cauca department. Authorities are undertaking investigations to find the culprit, who is also responsible for the deaths of two other Indigenous community members. Assassinations of Indigenous peoples are on the rise in the Cauca department, with 74 community members murdered so far in 2021. Since 2019, armed actors have assassinated 288 Indigenous persons, a figure registered by the Observatory of the Program for the Defense of Life and Human Rights (Observatorio del Programa de Defensa de la Vida y los Derechos Humanos).

Police and National Army Destroy Indigenous Homes During Raid (Caquetá)
On September 18,  uniformed men from Colombia’s National Army and Police destroyed four houses and damaged main road sections in Yari Indigenous territory in San Vicente del Caguán municipality, Caquetá department. Four families—including minors, pregnant women, and elderly adults—were left homeless, and two community members were deemed missing.  The community members stopped the fifth explosion by entering the home and demanding an explanation from the police and military. Intendant José Prada Peña, an explosives technician of the National Police, justified their actions, claiming the homes were illegal and did not have forest reserve zone deeds for Chiribiquete National Park. The community blames the attacks on Operation Artemisa, a campaign promoted by the government to stop deforestation, though human rights groups have alleged it is used to justify militarization. The Yari community demanded the presence of a high-level commission that understands the socio-environmental conflict and the agreements signed in good faith by the Altamira and Villavicencio municipalities with the national government. The Yari communities requested immediate humanitarian aid and reparation for the families who are currently homeless and economically vulnerable.  

Armed Actors Murder Two Children (North Santander) 
On October 8, as reported by NGO Vivamos Humanos, armed actors murdered two children in Tibú, North Santander department. These egregious murders are part of the region’s increasing pattern of violence against children and adolescents, which include forced recruitment, landmine accidents, and sexual violence. This violence is long-standing in the Catatumbo region and continues to deepen, as there is a lack of humanitarian minimums among the armed actors who operate in the department.  On October 11, the Catatumbo Humanitarian and Peacebuilding Working Group (Mesa Humanitaria y de Construcción de Paz del Catatumbo) publicly urged for the respect and integrity of children and adolescents, as indicated by civil society in the Humanitarian Agreement for Catatumbo—an initiative civil society has pushed for all armed actors to implement to save lives and consolidate peace. 

Civilians Endure Violence from State and Non-State Actors (North Santander)
On October 8, the Municipal Council for Peace, Reconciliation, and Coexistence publicly rejected a series of violent actions committed by state and non-state armed actors against civilians in Tibú, North Santander department. These aggressions include femicide, intimidation against community members, terrorist acts, forced disappearances, and the murders of adolescents. They asked the Public Prosecutor’s Office to ensure justice for these egregious crimes and for those who make up the Peace Council to promote reconciliation and work towards the peaceful resolution of social-political conflicts. They also requested international accompaniment from human rights organizations.  

Ex-Combatant Assassinated (Cauca)
On October 9, armed actors assassinated Ruber Erney Dorado, the 39th ex-combatant murdered by armed actors in 2021. At the time of his murder, he actively participated in the ex-combatant reintegration process in Bordo, Cauca department. The Ombudsman’s Office had published Early Warning 047/2020, underscoring the precarious security situation for former combatants in the region. Armed actors who operate in the Bordo region include the Gulf Clan paramilitary, the ELN guerrilla, and dissidents of the FARC.  According to INDEPAZ, armed actors have assassinated over 288 ex-combatants since the signing of the 2016 peace accord.

Ex-Combatant Assassinated (Chocó)
On September 20, armed actors assassinated Manuel Mena Viveras, the 37th ex-combatant murdered by armed actors in 2021. At the time of his murder, he actively participated in the ex-combatant reintegration process in Quibdó, Chocó department.  According to INDEPAZ, armed actors have assassinated over 286 ex-combatants since the signing of the 2016 peace accord. 

Civilians Internally Displaced due to Armed Groups (Valle del Cauca)
On October 12, the fear of continuing armed conflict between the Jamie Martínez FARC dissident group and the ELN guerrilla triggered the internal displacement of at least 38 families, made up of 130 people from the Punta Bonita hamlet in the rural district of Cajambre, to the urban sector of Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca department. Since the start of 2021, the continuous fracturing of criminal gangs in the region and the simultaneous strengthening of both this FARC dissident group and the ELN guerrilla in the region have dramatically deteriorated the security situation for rural communities in the region. Innocent civilians remain in constant danger, as these armed groups fight and collaborate among each other. 

Paramilitary and Guerrilla Violence Internally Displaces Ethnic Communities (Chocó)
On September 26, the Diocese of Istmina-Tadó in Chocó department denounced the Gulf Clan (Clan del Golfo) paramilitary and the National Liberation Army (Ejército Nacional de Liberación, ELN) guerrilla for their violence against and harassment of Afro-Colombian and Wounaán Indigenous communities. On September 24 and 25, the Diocese, in collaboration with the Municipal Mayors of Istmina and Medino San Juan, the Ombudsman’s Office (Defensoría del Pueblo), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados, ACNUR) and the Council of Authorities of the Wounaán People of Colombia (Consejo de Autoridades del Pueblo Wounaán de Colombia, WOUNDEKO) led a humanitarian mission to Istmina, Medio San Juan, Litoral de San Juan, and Bajo Baudo in Chocó department. In Istmina alone, 250 families—made up of 1,200 people—were forced to internally displace to the municipality for safer living conditions. At least 584 Wounaán community members rejoined their 118 respective families via a humanitarian corridor. 

Communities Protest Against Forced Eradication by Government (Putumayo)
Since October 8, the Association for the Integral and Sustainable Development of the Amazonian Pearl (Asociación de Desarrollo Integral Sostenible Perla Amazónica, ADISPA), a Campesino Reserve Zone (Zona de Reserva Campesina, ZRC), organized local demonstrations to resist the national government’s continued policies of forced eradication against their several communities in the Puerto Asís, Putumayo department. Rather than investing in rural development, as foretold in the 2016 peace accord, the government continues to carry out forced eradication operations that exacerbate the humanitarian crises experienced by these communities. The demonstrations called for the Mayor’s Office of Puerto Asís and the Governor’s Office of Putumayo to comply with the legal provisions that protect Indigenous communities, such as the right to social protest. The ADISPA called on the local, departmental, and national governments to uphold their commitments to advancing coca crop substitution programs, and to advance the 2016 peace accord, which would ultimately protect the rights of campesinos and ethnic communities. 

Forced Eradication Violates Territorial Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Putumayo)
On October 2, Colombian military soldiers from the 27th Jungle Brigade (Brigada XXVII de Selva) undertook forced eradication operations in the ancestral territory of the Nasa Indigenous in Puerto Caicedo, Putumayo department. As explained by the Inter-Ecclesial Commission for Justice and Peace (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz, CIJP), these operations violate the territorial autonomy and livelihood of Indigenous communities. Yet, the military operations continued over a series of days with at least seven families from the Indigenous Nasa Council Selva Hermosa impacted by the operations.  

The Indigenous Council, who has already proven their ancestral presence in the territory before the Municipal Mayor’s Office, called upon Vice First Sergeant Cabrera of the Military Brigade to cease the operations and respect their fundamental territorial and cultural rights. However, he affirmed the operations would continue and dismissed the existence of the Indigenous territory, telling the Council any of their claims would need to be made to his superiors. In its statement, the CIJP notes how this situation is exemplary of how the disregard for the territorial autonomy of Indigenous peoples; the absence of free, prior, and informed consultation; and the lack of state plans to ensure the physical and cultural survival of the Nasa people are systematic problems within Colombia’s security forces. Further, the Duque administration has remained indifferent to the rights of Indigenous peoples, which is an attitude that remains unchallenged since thus far no institutional oversight agency has effectively addressed these issues.

Human Rights Group Documents Systematic Pattern of Police Brutality (Santander)
On September 23, the Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (Corporación Regional para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, CREDHOS) detailed over 15 major instances of abuses committed by Colombia’s National Police throughout 2020 and 2021 in Barrancabermeja, Santander department. These abuses include stigmatizing the right to social protest; an excessive and brutal use of force, which even affected civilians not participating in the demonstrations; physically and psychologically injuring demonstrators, some of whom were arbitrarily and illegally detained; infiltrating and sabotaging the demonstrations; harassing and attacking  human rights defenders, journalists, and medical brigades; and torturing detained individuals. The CREDHOS statement underscores how a deep, systematic pattern of police brutality in Barrancabermeja was further exacerbated when the national strike protests began in April 2021, and even highlights how the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has denounced such excesses and brutality at the national level. To adequately address these issues, CREDHOS urged the Attorney General’s Office and Prosecutor General’s Office to advance criminal investigations into the members of the National Police responsible for these abuses, the Ombudsman’s Office to ensure the rights of victims of police brutality are protected, and the Barrancabermeja Mayor’s Office to publicly condemn the National Police’s brutal practices. 

Agriculture Projects Threaten Ethnic Livelihoods (Bolívar)
On September 8, members of the Afro-Colombian Federation of Artisanal Fishermen of Cantagallo municipality conducted a tour along the Cimitarra River in the southern part of Bolívar department to assess environmental damage in the region. The tour concluded that agricultural activities—like extensive cattle ranching and African palm monocultures in flood zones—are contributing to increased deforestation and clearing and channeling of the river, all of which is increasing dangerous flooding in swamps in the surrounding communities. These floods are destroying the livelihoods of the ethnic communities in the region by destroying crops, blocking the transport of goods, and preventing the ability to fish. Many residents have had to internally displace from the region because of the ongoing floods. The Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (Corporación Regional para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, CREDHOS) urged for protections to safeguard these residents. They asked the Mayor of Cantagallo Enio Ricardo Sarmiento, the Autonomous South Bolívar Corporation (Corporación Autónoma del Sur de Bolívar, CSB), Colombia’s environmental prosecutor, the Attorney General’s office, and international entities to investigate the environmental damage and design and implement an emergency response plan for the floods.