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Colombia: Oil Palms, Right Abuses Hand in Hand in Northwest

Source:  Copyright 2008, Inter Press Service
Date:  September 5, 2008
Byline:  Constanza Vieira
Original URL: Status ONLINE

As of this week, there is one less human rights defender in the northwestern Colombian region of Bajo Atrato. Jimmy Jansasoy of the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission was forced to flee the area, where oil palm plantations have encroached on the collectively-owned jungle territories of traditional black communities.

On Aug. 29, Jansasoy gave a workshop on "biodiversity zones" in a village on the Curbaradó river, which runs into the Atrato river.

In that region, the Colombian Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission and international human rights groups like the Canada-based Project Accompaniment and Solidarity Colombia (PASC) and the UK-based Peace Brigades International (PBI) provide support to "peace communities" that have come under attack from far-right paramilitary groups.

As a result of e-mail threats received by the groups since Aug. 24, two other members of the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission had already fled the ...

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