Emergency and non-Emergency Support for Environmental Defenders: Pilot project in Colombia

Universal Rights Group, Environmental Investigation Agency, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.

The situation for defenders of the land, the environment, and the territory (LEDs) in Latin America is nothing short of dire. Multiple reports demonstrate that Latin America is one of the most dangerous places for LEDs; their rights to life, physical integrity, safety, political participation, and freedom of expression and association – among others basic civil liberties – are continually and increasingly violated.

Against this backdrop, the Defend the Defenders Coalition (DDCoalition) has decided to implement a pilot project in Colombia, with the overarching objective of identifying concrete steps that will enable this Coalition to contribute to the promotion, protection, and respect of the rights of LEDs.

To achieve this aim, the DDCoalition needs to better understand the current situation of LEDs vis-à-vis the support mechanisms and resources that are currently being offered to them. This would require gathering evidence-based information on whether LEDs and their intermediary and support organizations have data on said mechanisms and resources, and whether their needs are being met. The ultimate objective would be identifying specific actions that could contribute to responding in better ways to the needs of LEDs in Colombia, and elsewhere.

Responses to the crisis currently faced by LEDs worldwide need be sensitive to corresponding socioeconomic, political, environmental and cultural contexts. Solutions cannot be generic but rather should be tailor-made depending upon needs. The project aims at identifying methodologies and actions that can be replicated in other regions and countries where the situation of LEDs is also critical.

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