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Colombia: NGO accuses Banacol of supporting "bad faith" people occupying lands of displaced afro-Colombians, with the complicity of army, paramilitaries

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Company response
30 March 2011

Response by Banacol: Accusations of complicity with army, paramilitaries in bringing vulnerable people from elsewhere to illegally occupy displaced Afro-Colombians' land.

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Article
24 February 2011

Colombia: Multinational Banana Corporation Displaces Afro-Colombian Peace Communities

Author: Megan Felt, in Latin American Bureau

Since early December, hundreds of private contractors of multinational banana corporation Banacol have illegally invaded and occupied Afro-Colombian peace communities in...Curvaradó...Their actions have been supported and assisted by local paramilitaries, army soldiers and municipal governments. The peace communities’ collective territory is protected under Colombia's Constitution and protective measures under the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. According to...the Colombian human rights organization, Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz…Banacol workers are displacing vulnerable Afro-Colombian peace communities...They are also bulldozing the subsistence farmers’ crops, destroying natural habitats and contaminating waterways...The “bad-faith occupiers,” as the Curvaradó residents call them, are mainly made up of vulnerable individuals...Banacol...has pitted these vulnerable populations against one another...[also refers to Chiquita Brands Inc., Invesmar, Olinsa Inc.]

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Article
4 February 2011

Occupiers of collective properties reveal the complicity of the 17th Brigade and Banacol [Colombia]

Author: Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz [Colombia]

Two Biodiversity Zones affected, 122 hectares wiped away, 320 hectares trampled, a source of water affected, and 19 campsites installed are part of the damage caused by the invaders, bad-faith occupiers in the collective properties of Camelias in Curvaradó…The occupation of the properties is interpreted as a strategy to favour the sectors benefiting from paramilitarism or business sectors by hindering the restoration of the collective property. Therefore, the paramilitaries have threatened the leaders of the community councils of the Humanitarian Zones…The invaders…say that they will not go because they count on supporters, among them those of the 17th Brigade, which advises them in the constitution of a legal status and the creation of boards of communal action, and of Banacol…The possible responsibility of Banacol in these illegal operations is a terrible precedent for the approval of free-trade agreements, against the principles of business ethics and the democracy stipulation of the EU.

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Article
4 February 2011

[PDF] Press Release Curvarandó [Colombia]

Author: Banacol

The Curvarado river basin is…part of the territories turned over by the Government to the Afro Colombian populations, which are in a process of recovering their lands…Banacol…was invited by the National Government and the Head Council of Afro Colombian communities of the Curvarado river basin, to support the development of a sustainable productive project...Banacol supervised the planting of 300 hectares cultivated exclusively by Afro Colombians, who are authorized by the communities, and where the respect for others, the protection of waters and the environment are prevalent…Banacol is not the proprietor of a single acre of land in Curvarado...and that the assistance it offers to Afro Colombians is given for free...[W]e emphatically reject the false rumors published in international as well as national left media...We must emphasize that regarding these allegations, which were made public in the months of November and December 2010, the communities of Curvarado and the Head Council had already stated that they rejected them.

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