There is a continued presence of illegal mining operations and threats against community leaders in La Toma, Cauca. We at Witness for Peace Southeast denounce this activity and call on government officials to respect the community’s right to free and prior informed consent, a right that provides dignity of life and fosters cultural and economic stability. TAKE A STAND WITH US TODAY!
Use the e-mail template below (or write your own message) and contact the following officials:
Adam Lenert, Human Rights Officer: LenertAJ@state.gov
Rocio Mercado-Garcia, Political Officer, Vulnerable Populations: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emerita Torres, Labor Officer, Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Issues: TorresEF@state.gov
I am writing to express my concern about continued illegal mining activity in La Toma, Cauca. Community leaders have found 12 backhoes in their territory and have also reported the presence of armed men extorting residents and threatening community leaders. Local authorities and military have investigated, but the mining equipment and armed men remain. Of particular concern is that some of the property where illegal mining equipment was found belongs to the municipal personera Nasly Lucumi Díaz.
La Toma has been an iconic case for Afro-Colombian land rights under Law 70 and for community efforts to reject illegal mining and associated violence. I ask you to follow up with local government entities (in particular, with the offices of the Fiscalía and Procuraduría) on these threats and encroachment on La Toma’s land in order to guarantee the community leaders’ safety.