Stop the Eviction of Afro-Colombian Miner Communities in North Cauca Region
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
On Thursday, August 6, 2009 the Colombian government will evict 1502 families from the Community Council of La Toma, in the Norte del Cauca Region. The traditional miner families who had inhabited those lands since 1636 and live primarily from gold mining since then, have been declared "owners of bad faith" (poseedores de mala fe) for mining in an area that was given in concession by the government to foreigners, without previous consultation to the communities, and in violation of the Law 70 of 1993, the ILO Convention 169 and the Auto 005 from the Colombian Constitutional Court.
The Community Council of La Toma is comprised of five villages: Yolombo, Gelima, Dos Aguas, El Ato and La Toma. 6500 of its 7000 hectares have been asked in concession by the foreign mining company Anglo Gold Ashanti. As the Community Council of La Toma face displacement, other communities in the municipalities of Suarez, Buenos Aires and Santander de Quilichao will follow since the Ashanti (as people in the area know it) and Consigo Resort, another mining company, are looking for permanent license to exploit the gold in the region, leaving hundreds of traditional miner families with no source of living.
The Colombian government in its usual fashion has disregard for national and international laws, avoiding consultation with the communities previous to any concession over their lands and resources. The Black Communities Process-PCN is asking for immediate advocacy action to prevent the expulsion and further internal displacement of the traditional miners. Please send your concerns to the Colombian authorities listed in PCN's action alert: http://news.afrocolombians.
Thank you for your solidarity and commitment with Afro-Colombian plight and struggle.
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