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While Canada's Parliament weighs in on Bill C-300, and Blackfire Exploration reels over the shut down of their mine in Chiapas, Mexico -- another Canadian company, Cosigo Resources, finds itself implicated in a surge of recent murders in southeast Colombia. The Social & Climate Justice Caravan reports.

7 December 2009 - Canada: Human Rights Hypocrites

Legislation ratifying a free trade agreement between Canada & Columbia is being passed in the Canadian Parliament. Canadian officials, claim that a free trade agreement with Colombia, will result in an improved human rights situation in Colombia. In recent days in Columbia five indigenous leaders have been murdered for their opposition to the Canadian mining firm Cosigo Resources of Vancouver.

It is objectionable that Canadian transnational companies are complicit in human rights abuses of this magnitude. Canada remains one of two countries that refuse to sign & ratify the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples. How can the Canadian government claim that Free trade agreement will improve human rights, when they refuse to acknowledge the importance of Indigenous rights?

Olivier de Marcellus 0041793427025 (French English)
Dave Bleakney (Canadian Postal Workers, English), and Jose Goyes (CRIC, Colombia, Spanish), 0032-489281693

Audio Interview

Dave Bleakney interviews José Goyes, a climate caravan participant and member of the CRIC.

A vocal opponent of the Vancouver-based company, Cosigo Resources, José is one of many indigenous leaders and activists in imminent danger of being assassinated by "the Black Eagles" paramilitary group.

A full transcript of the interview is available here.


José lives in a fertile area in the south of the country, which is rich in vegetation, but also in mineral resources such as gold. This area has recently become the sight of a bitter struggle by the indigenous people whose livelihoods depend on this land, and the multinational corporations who are intent on exploiting it, apparently at any cost.

Canadian multinationals, and in particular a corporation called Cosigo Resources (Vancouver), are embarking on a programme of mass displacement of indigenous populations in south east Colombia. The Colombian government is supporting these multinationals; in the name of the Colombian government paramilitaries are persecuting and killing local indigenous people who oppose the forceful seizure of their land.

Many of the indigenous leaders, including José Goyes, have been threatened because they oppose the exploration of Cosigo Resources. On Sunday (December 6), we received the news that one of the indigenous leaders in the struggle had been killed. This brings the death toll of indigenous leaders in the region to five. These deaths are happening purely because the local populations are refusing to cooperate with the multinationals and government paramilitaries who are expelling them from their land.

José himself recently received a fax from the paramilitaries, stating that he and his organisation are considered a “military objective”. Jose has already had paramilitaries torture him in his own home. Now he knows his life is even more seriously in danger.


Olivier de Marcellus 0041793427025 (French English)
Dave Bleakney (Canadian Postal Workers, English), and Jose Goyes (CRIC, Colombia, Spanish), 0032-489281693

More Information


What You Can Do

1. Sign the Petition: Stop the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement!

2. Send a letter to Colombian authorities and Canadian Politicians, encouraging them to defend and guarantee the protection of trade unionists, Indigenous leaders and other human rights advocates in Colombia.

Señor Presidente Álvaro Uribe Vélez
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño, Carrera 8 No.7-2
Bogotá, Colombia
Fax: 011 57 1 337 5890
Salutation: Dear President Uribe

His Excellency Jaime Giron Duarte
Ambassador for Colombia
360 Albert Street, Suite 1002
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 7X7
Fax: (613) 230-4416

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Fax: (613) 941-6900

Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Fax: (613) 992-5880

Jack Layton, Leader of the NDP
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Fax: (613) 995-4565

Gilles Duceppe, Leader of the Bloc Québécois
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Fax: (613) 954-2121

John Schertow