From the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador and Brazil, to the watersheds of Colombia, the canyons of Mexico’s Sierra Tarahumara, across beautiful Guatemala, Honduras and beyond, Latin America is a region that is incredibly rich in biodiversity and natural resources. Amid a global climate emergency, the importance of protecting biodiversity-rich land, forests and water has become ever more urgent.
In Latin America, as elsewhere, Indigenous peoples are leading the way, together with other determined earth defenders. They are paying a heavy price to do so, increasingly with their lives. New research suggests it is battle that has become more lethal than some war zones.
Amnesty Canada’s campaign to defend earth defenders under attack in Latin America needs your support!
Here are priority actions that Amnesty Canada is promoting this fall.
The women earth defenders of Mujeres Amazónicas face threats and attacks on them and their families as they seek to protect the world’s largest rainforest from damage by oil companies and other resource extraction. In November, an Amnesty delegation will accompany these courageous women as they press Ecuadoran authorities for action to protect their lives and rights. Already more than 130,000 Amnesty supporters from around the world have signed petitions in support of Mujeres Amazónicas. We need to increase that number for maximum impact.
TAKE ACTION: Before November 1st, please sign the e-action here and collect signatures on our print petition here. You can find beautiful posters of the women earth defenders of Mujeres Amazónicas for a table display by scrolling to the bottom of our Earth Defenders web page here.
Threats and attacks are escalating in the Central American country of Honduras. The beloved leader Berta Cáceres was killed to silence her voice of opposition to the damming of the Gualcarque River, whose running waters are vital to the rights and lives of Lenca Indigenous People. Now Rosalina Dominguez and other earth defenders in the Lenca community of Río Blanco, who continue the struggle that Berta led, are being threatened with death by men armed with guns and machetes. Their food crops were intentionally destroyed in July. The situation is extremely dangerous.
TAKE ACTION: As soon as possible please sign the Online Urgent Action here and share it widely.
The killing of Rarámuri Indigenous earth defender Julian Carrillo in the Sierra Tarahumara last October 24 devastated a community that had already seen other leaders killed as they sought to defend land, Indigenous rights and the forests so vital to their survival. Days before he was killed, Julian had spoken out against mining concessions that would impact the environment on which his people depend. Julian’s assassination is symptomatic of an increase in deadly violence against earth defenders in Mexico who confront the environmental impacts of irresponsible resource extraction. Mexico must act to prevent more bloodshed and uphold human rights.
Colombia has experienced a massive wave of attacks on community leaders defending land and the environment since the signing of a peace agreement three years ago. Indigenous defenders continue to bear the brunt of the violence. In August, the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia declared an emergency situation, with 94 Indigenous leaders killed in the past nine months alone .
In November, Amnesty Canada will co-sponsor a visit organized by our colleagues at Peace Brigades International of three environmental human rights defenders who will talk about their work to stop climate change, fracking, and protect water amid ongoing violence against them. Watch our website for details of the tour and events in selected cities across Canada.
TAKE ACTION: Please collect signatures on this print petition calling for action to stop the killings so earth defenders can continue their vital work.
Guatemala is suffering a dangerous backslide in protection of human rights. People who defend their land and the right to a healthy environment are once more targets of violence, especially when they speak out against the environmental impacts of mining projects proceeding without the free, prior and informed consent of affected Indigenous peoples.
TAKE ACTION: Please respond to the Urgent Action here for Indigenous lawyer Quelvin Jiménez, who is at serious risk following new threats and attacks in response to his work to defend the rights of the Xinca Indigenous People from mining activity in the south of Guatemala.
INTERESTED IN DOING MORE?
Do you have creative ideas for engaging and mobilizing other activists? Would you like to be an ambassador for this campaign in your school or community? We’d love to hear from you. Contact campaigner Kathy Price.
LOOKING FOR REPORTS, VIDEOS, POSTERS FOR TABLING, OUR PHOTO STORY?
Check the Earth Defenders campaign page here
Thank you for your solidarity action!