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9 Mar 2020

Colombia: Woman indigenous leader Angelica Ortiz denounces abuse by businesses as country faces scrutiny at UN

In Colombia, defenders who seek to prevent or expose human rights abuse and violations by businesses and government face concerted and often deadly attacks - and both the government and businesses need to act decisively to prevent and address them. This was the message sent by both the UN Special Rapporteur (SR) on HRDs, through his report, and a number of civil society organizations, including ours, at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) last week  - and it reverberated in the media.

Angelica Ortiz isa Wayuu indigenous woman leader from the Ipuana clan of the Lomomato indigenous reserve in La Guajira, Colombia, a human rights defender and part of the Wayuu Women's Force Movement. Angelica and her movement denounce what they see as negative impacts of exploitation and export of coal in her region. She was meant to be at the HRC, but could not attend due to the COVID-19 related cancellations of events in Geneva. Since she could not be there in person, we are sharing Angelica's message for the HRC below. The SR on HRDs' report is available here, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre's report on Colombia and defenders is available here, and examples of international and national media coverage of the issues are below.