WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
30 Apr 2014 | Video

Violence and Displacement in Colombia’s Main Pacific Port

Buenaventura, the largest port on Colombia’s Pacific coast, has been the site of some of the country’s most brutal violence in recent memory. Mass displacement of Afro-Colombian communities, gruesome dismemberment of civilians, and the denial of basic human and labor rights protections have come to define the city. In response to growing national and international concern, in March Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced social investment measures in Buenaventura and sent several hundred members of the security forces to the city to address the growing crisis. What effect will this militarization have, and what else can be done, on both national and international levels, to protect Buenaventura’s population from this humanitarian crisis?

Max Schoening, Colombia Researcher from Human Rights Watch, will present their new report on the crisis in Buenaventura and outline possible steps to curb the expanding control of paramilitary successor groups in the city. WOLA Senior Associate Gimena Sanchez will moderate the discussion and comment on WOLA’s recent trips to the region. She will also highlight labor rights violations in the port, civilian movements against the violence, and proposals to create an urban humanitarian zone in the city.
Take action to end the violence in Colombia; contact your Member of Congress and urge them to sign onto a letter calling for a bilateral ceasefire as the peace talks progress.