Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Foreign Affairs 125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2
August 4, 2020
Dear Minister Champagne,
We write on behalf of Amnesty International Canada and Above Ground to request your immediate assistance with regard to urgent concerns for the safety of human rights defenders who belong to the Rios Vivos movement in Colombia.
Canada is directly and very seriously implicated in the situation of risk faced by members of Rios Vivos, given that it arises from devastating impacts of the Export Development Canada-financed Hidroituango Dam project on the Cauca River in Colombia.
The dam has had disastrous consequences for the environment and for communities that depend on it for their livelihoods and food security. There were abundant, credible warnings about these and other negative consequences before EDC approved its financing. The dam has also exacerbated armed conflict and repression against community leaders who have spoken out in defense of their rights. Six leaders have been killed and scores of others have been tortured, forcibly displaced, attacked or threatened with death.