Joint Declaration on the Assassination of Aldemar Parra Garcia  

23 January 2017

The 95 Organisations signing this Joint Declaration from 27 different Countries condemn the assassination of Aldemar Parra García and express our deepest condolences to his family.


On 7 January 2017, Aldemar Parra Garcia was assassinated by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle on the route from El Hatillo to La Loma in broad daylight. He was a community leader and active trade unionist, until recently employed in the mine of Colombian Natural Resources (CNR). Parra leaves his wife and three children behind.

Regional context

The murder of Aldemar is not an isolated incident. Unfortunately, this murder fits a pattern of violence against civil society and their leaders that we see across Colombia and in the mining region of Cesar. According to the report ‘Civil society under Threat’, in Cesar at least 200 leaders became victims of threats, assaults and killings during the period 2012-2016. It is important to point out that all of these victims are social leaders whose efforts are considered by certain sectors of the Cesar population to be critical of the impact of mining activities in the region. Most of these acts are claimed by or carry the signature of neo-paramilitary groups, who claim to defend the interests of the mining companies and other economic actors in the region. For example, last September Néstor Iván Martínez, leader of an Afro-Colombian community resisting the expansion of the mines owned by the American mining company Drummond, was assassinated shortly after having been threatened by a neo-paramilitary group.

Aldemar was an active member of the community of El Hatillo; a rural community that since 2010 has been involved in a lengthy process of involuntary resettlement with three mining companies. He was a family member of several community leaders who were critical towards a resettlement plan recently proposed by the mining companies. Since 2014 the community has reported an increasing number of security incidents, e.g. leaflets, text messages or phone calls threatening community members. Since September 2016, inhabitants of El Hatillo have reported the presence of unidentified armed men in the vicinity during the hours of darkness.

The condemnation of the murder of Aldemar Parra Garcia by Prodeco and Drummond (as a specific incident) is a first step, but more actions are necessary to effectively mitigate the violence against civil society in Cesar.

We urge the Colombian authorities:

- to not treat the assassination of Aldemar Parra Garcia as an isolated incident, but address it in the context of a pattern of acts of intimidation and violence directed against civil society in Cesar, and

- to undertake - in line with the Peace Agreement - effective actions to crack down on and prosecute the members of any illegal armed group that operates in the mining region of Cesar

We urge the mining companies:

- to publicly distance themselves from neo-paramilitary groups that claim to operate in their interests

- to actively take up a role in assuring that the security of those that are critical of the impact of mining in Cesar is guaranteed, and

-to search for effective and just solutions for the impacts of mining on the local population in the region, including remediation of grave human rights violations in the recent past, and addressing dwindling livelihood opportunities and unhealthy and unsafe working conditions.

List of Signatories:                                                                   International Network
ABColombia                                                              UK
Acción Ecologica                                                        Ecuador
African Uranium Alliance                                              International Network
AG Bergbau und Menschenrechte in Kolumbien " Berlin  Germany
AGEH - Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Entwicklungshilfe          Germany
Amigos de la Tierra España                                          Spain
ASK - Arbeitsgruppe Schweiz-Kolumbien                        Switzerland
Asociación ambiental e cultural Petón do Lobo, Galicia      Spain
Asociación gallega Cova Crea, Galicia                              Spain
Bocas de Ceniza Waterkeeper                                       Colombia
Both ENDS                                                                   Netherlands
Buirer für Buir                                                               Germany
BUND - Friends of the Earth Germany                             Germany
BUND Sachsen                                                             Germany
BürgerBegehren Klimaschutz                                         Germany
CALG " Coalition against Land Grabbing                          Philippines
CENSAT agua viva - Friends of the Earth Colombia           Colombia
Center for Environment - Friends of the Earth BiH     Bosnia and Herzegovina
Christliche Initiative Romero                                           Germany
CNV Internationaal                                                       Netherlands
Coal Action Network                                                            UK
CoalSwarm                                                                        USA
Colombia Caravana UK Lawyers' Group                                  UK
Colombia Solidaritet                                                       Denmark
Colombia Solidarity Campaign                                                UK
ContraMINAcción, Galicia                                                      Spain
Cooperacción                                                                     Peru
Dachverband der Kritischen Aktionäre                               Germany
Earth Law Center                                                               USA
Environmental Rights Action                                               Nigeria
Facing Finance                                                                  Germany
FIAN Deutschland                                                             Germany
FNV Mondiaal                                                                  Netherlands
Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika    Germany
Friends of the Earth Australia                                               Australia
Friends of the Earth Canada                                                     Canada
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland (EWNI)    UK
Friends of the Earth International                                International Network
Friends of the Earth Japan                                                    Japan
Friends of the Siberian Forests                                             Russia
FUgE Hamm                                                                       Hamm
GegenStrömung / CounterCurrent                                     Germany
GIP-LAWS (Ghana Integrated Platform on Land,

Water & Seed Struggles)                                                    Ghana
Global 2000 - Friends of the Earth Austria                           Austria
groundWork, Friends of the Earth South Africa                South Africa
Informationsstelle Peru                                                     Germany
International Oil Working Group                                  International Network
JA!Justica Ambiental - FOE Mozambique                             Mozambique
Kohleausstieg Berlin                                                        Germany
kolko - Menschenrechte für Kolumbien                               Germany
Kolumbiengruppe Hamburg                                               Germany
Latin American Mining Monitoring Programme                         UK
Leave it in the Ground Inititative (LINGO)                              Mexico
Les Amis de la Terre                                                            France
LIGA - Lüner Initiative gegen globale Armut                         Germany
Lock the Gate Alliance                                                      Australia
London Mining Network                                                        UK
Market Forces                                                               Australia
MISEREOR                                                                     Germany
Network Movement for Justice and Development            Sierra Leone
NOAH - Friends of the Earth Denmark                               Denmark
OCMAL - Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina    International Network
PAS - Pensamiento y Acción Social                                    Colombia
PAX                                                                           Netherlands
pax christi Solidarität Eine Welt                                     Germany
philippinenbüro                                                          Germany
PowerShift                                                                Germany
Pro Natura - Friends of the Earth Switzerland            Switzerland
Progressio                                                                  UK
Re:Common                                                              Italy
Rettet den Regenwald                                             Germany
Robin Wood                                                           Germany
Russian Social-Ecological Union - Friends of the Earth Russia    Russia
Salva la Selva                                                              Spain
Sociedade Histórica e Cultural Coluna Sanfins, Galicia        Spain
Solidarity Sweden " Latin America                                  Sweden
SOMO                                                                      Netherlands
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance            South Africa
Southern Africa Rural Women’s Assembly                      South Africa
terre des hommes - Hilfe für Kinder in Not                          Germany
The Gaia Foundation                                                            UK
The People’s Dialogue                                           International Network
This Changes Everything                                                      UK
TNI " Transnational Institute                                        The Netherlands
Umweltgewerkschaft Düsseldorf                                         Germany
urgewald                                                                          Germany
Verdegaia, Galicia                                                                 Spain
Waterkeeper Alliance                                               International Network
WEED e.V. " World Economy, Ecology & Development        Germany
WoMin African Gender and Extractives Alliance                    South Africa
Yasunidos Ecuador                                                            Ecuador
Yasunidos Germany                                                        Germany
YLNM - Yes to Life, No to Mining                              International Network
Zelena Istra - Green Istria                                                 Croatia

Download in PDF here: Declaration

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