To be nominated and be one of the finalists means that our work is not invisible, and we have succeeded in having an important impact through the support of different national and international organisations. Working with support networks has helped to recognise the existence of our struggle, and that a section of Colombia’s population is still suffering human rights violations, and leaders are still putting their lives at stake to protect and vindicate these rights.
We hope that now there is awareness, that the government will take the necessary measures to protect mining communities in Lower Cauca, in the area of Guamoco and all the other small mining communities in the country. In Colombia there is persecution of artisanal miners at a national level because the legislation is against them. It continues to confuse illegal mining and associate it with illegal armed groups. Nonetheless, it must be acknowledged that some illegal armed groups are taking advantage of these situations to fund themselves through mining. It is a complex question for the nation, which should be dealt with by legislators and the State in general with a greater degree of consensus.
Camilo Villamir, Asociacion de Hermandades Agroecologicas y Mineras de Guamoco (Aheramigua)
*Finalist for the Prize for collective experience or process of the year – NGO / Accompanier category