On November 15, Peace Brigades International brought together environmental human rights defenders from Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Kenya, along with United Nations Special Rapporteur Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, to share insights on frontline struggles and the COP27 summit. To watch the video of the webinar (with original audio), click here.

Christopher Castillo, Honduras

“We must never forget that the water, the earth, and all the elements that constitute us are not exclusively of humanity. We must always be clear that we are on a planet and that planet we need to rescue. And we’re going to rescue it from a capitalist model of dispossession.”

Yuli Velasquez, Colombia

“I am the daughter of a murdered fisherman, born and raised on the banks of the Magdalena River, the main artery of Colombia. My fight is to protect water sources: this has caused me three attacks.”

“We defend our territory, we make contamination from industry visible, and we confront armed groups that have links with companies. To silence ourselves, we have been victims of systematic attacks.”

“Those of us who are from territories defending the environment are not visible at COP27. Colombia is one of the countries where more environmentalists kill. When we raise our voice, they kill us, threaten us or take us out of the territory.”

“There are 5 actors that are affecting the swamp, a water source that supplies water to Barrancabermeja, causing diseases. When one defender denounces entities that must ensure a healthy environment, as there are links with armed actors, the threats begin.”

“The Escazú Agreement gives some hope, but there are many public officials who do not apply laws, but on the contrary, they stigmatize us. Companies have displaced us for years and communities have to be present in any project that affects the environment.”

“As fishermen we oppose fracking. We already have a lot of contaminated water and damage caused by companies in Barrancabermeja. Water sources are degraded every day and megaprojects only benefit large companies, not to communities.”

To watch the video of the webinar (with original audio), click here.

This article was written by the Peace Brigades International- Canada Project