Nottingham: Colombian Land Rights Defenders to visit

Alba Achito

Alba Achito

A group of land and human rights defenders are travelling from Colombia to Nottingham to speak about the importance of environmental protection - and how locals can act to create a positive change.

Known locally as The Guardians of Atrato River, Alba Achito, a female indigenous leader, and Fausto Palacios, a youth coordinator and advisor, will be accompanied by lawyer Vianney Enrique Moya Rua, who specialises in land defence cases, for their visit to Nottingham facilitated by the aid agency CAFOD.

They are planning to speak to the Nottingham community about experiences of protecting, defending and preserving land - especially the local Atrato River, which is a source of life for many people who live along its banks.

Maggie Mairura, CAFOD's local representative in Nottingham, said: "Over the years that I have worked for CAFOD, I have been blessed to meet so many in the local community here in Nottingham who tirelessly fundraise for communities around the world who are facing conflict and poverty.

"We are so privileged to be visited by The Guardians of Atrato River as this will enable local community members to hear first-hand how their efforts are making a real difference."

Chocó, where the Atrato River is located, is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, but as a result of illegal mining activities and the armed conflict, the land is being destroyed.

For many Afro-Colombians and indigenous communities living locally, they face daily dangers in their efforts to try to protect the environment.

Following a landmark 2017 ruling, Colombia's Constitutional Court recognised the Atrato River, including its communities, as having rights to "protection, conservation, maintenance and restoration" - yet, two years later, many community members still face discrimination and threats of violence.

CAFOD has worked in Colombia for over 50 years and is currently working alongside the community that protects the Atrato River to make sure their voices are heard.

You can hear Alba, Fausto, Vianney speak on Friday 11 October at the University of Nottingham at 7-9 pm. This is a free event.

Tags: Colombia, Guardians of Atrato River, Alba Achito, Fausto Palacios, Vianney Enrique Moya Rua, Atrato River, Maggie Mairura, CAFOD, Nottingham

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