Environmental organizations condemn attacks on the environment in Colombia

June 25, 2015

Bogota, Colombia.

The undersigned environmental organizations condemn attacks on the environment made in the Colombian departments of Putumayo, Nariño, Arauca, Boyacá and Norte de Santander, which have been attributed to FARC-EP.

According to media sources, attacks on oil infrastructure have caused environmental damage in the river basins of Tibú and Caunapí, among others, and in Bahia de Tumaco, affecting more than 84,000 people.

These acts adversely impact local communities, the country and the environment on a global scale. Oil pollution in bodies of water seriously threatens the life and health of people, as well as the integrity of ecosystems and animal species.  

The undersigned organizations recall that international humanitarian law prohibits actors of armed conflict from engaging in environmental destruction unjustified by military needs, according to the principles of distinction and proportionality. Similarly, actors of armed conflict, when conducting hostilities, should refrain from undermining the human rights to water and a healthy environment.

The organizations reaffirm that human rights and environmental law applicable in Colombia, as well as the government’s obligations in the field, are not suspended during periods of armed conflict.

For all of these reasons, the undersigned environmental organizations call on FARC-EP to respect international humanitarian law and refrain from causing harm to the environment. They also reaffirm the necessity to exclude communities and ecosystems from armed conflict. 

Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad

Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente (AIDA)

Foro Nacional Ambiental

Fundación Natura

Klimaforum Latinoamérica Network (KLN)

Red por la Justicia Ambiental en Colombia (RJAC)