Organizations call for support for communities affected by Colombia’s Hidroituango dam
Photo: Agencia Prensa Rural.
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9 May 2018
Communities affected by the Hidroituango dam have denounced the murder of two of their members over the past few days. In addition, a recent obstruction in one of the dam’s tunnels means the dam is at risk of overflowing, which could cause an avalanche of mud and debris. Allies are calling on authorities to investigate the harms to local communities and provide adequate support for those affected.
Two members of Movimiento Ríos Vivos Antioquia, the coalition of communities affected by Colombia’s Hidroituango Dam, have been murdered in the last several days. Hugo Albeiro George Pérez and Luis Alberto Torres Montoya were murdered on May 2 and 8, respectively, according to statements from Ríos Vivos.
Members of the movement have also suffered threats, intimidation, and human rights violations due to their defense of their land and the Cauca River.
At the same time, residents of towns downstream from the dam are living in fear and uncertainty this week, faced with a potential environmental catastrophe. The imminent danger is caused by an obstruction in one of the dam’s diversion tunnels that, by interrupting the flow of the Cauca River, could cause the dam to overflow with such force that it would release not just water but an avalanche of mud and debris.
The Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), and the International Accountability Project (IAP) express our support for MovimientoRíos Vivos of Antioquia and the communities affected by the Hidroituango Dam in Colombia.
We demand that Colombia’s environmental authorities find and punish those responsible for the murders, as well as investigate the ongoing damages caused by the dam’s construction. We also call on the national government to promptly and adequately provide support for affected families.
Hidroituango, expected to become Colombia’s largest dam, will affect 12 municipalities, changing the lives of thousand of families that depend directly on the river. The project has received funding from IDB Invest, the private-sector branch of the Inter-American Development Bank.