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Tue Jun 24, 2014, 04:53 PM

Mercury poisoning adds to humanitarian crisis in west Colombia: govt

Mercury poisoning adds to humanitarian crisis in west Colombia: govt
Jun 24, 2014 posted by Victoria McKenzie

Thousands forced from their homes in western Colombia are now facing water poisoning from mercury, allegedly from illegal mining operations, reported Colombia’s highest governmental human rights organization on Tuesday.

Colombia’s Ombudsman reports that the fundamental rights of Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations in the state of Choco are being violated due to the the use and dumping of mercury into community drinking water by illegal mining operations.

According to the report, at least eight rivers in Choco have been contaminated and diverted by mining complexes. Mercury, used in the extraction of gold from rock, is being dumped directly into rivers, contaminating tributaries and posing a high risk to the health of the communities, who use the water for direct consumption, fishing, bathing, and washing clothes and utensils.

According to Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper, in the towns of Condoto, Lloro, Atrato, Istmina and Pizarro, 400 people were treated between January 18 and April 12 for symptoms related to the consumption of contaminated water.


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Reply Mercury poisoning adds to humanitarian crisis in west Colombia: govt (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jun 2014 OP
Louisiana1976 Jun 2014 #1
Judi Lynn Jun 2014 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Jun 24, 2014, 05:10 PM

1. Those illegal mining companies ought to be brought to justice and forced to stop

dumping mercury in rivers. Colombia needs something like the EPA.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Jun 24, 2014, 09:45 PM

2. There was a horrifying case to unbelievable water pollution in La Macarena, Colombia.

Dan Kovalik.
Human and Labor Rights Lawyer
Posted: April 1, 2010 09:22 AM

U.S. and Colombia Cover Up Atrocities Through Mass Graves

The biggest human rights scandal in years is developing in Colombia, though you wouldn't notice it from the total lack of media coverage here. The largest mass grave unearthed in Colombia was discovered by accident last year just outside a Colombian Army base in La Macarena, a rural municipality located in the Department of Meta just south of Bogota. The grave was discovered when children drank from a nearby stream and started to become seriously ill. These illnesses were traced to runoff from what was discovered to be a mass grave -- a grave marked only with small flags showing the dates (between 2002 and 2009) on which the bodies were buried.

According to a February 10, 2010 letter issued by Alexandra Valencia Molina, Director of the regional office of Colombia's own Procuraduria General de la Nacion -- a government agency tasked to investigate government corruption -- approximately 2,000 bodies are buried in this grave. The Colombian Army has admitted responsibility for the grave, claiming to have killed and buried alleged guerillas there. However, the bodies in the grave have yet to be identified. Instead, against all protocol for handling the remains of anyone killed by the military, especially those of guerillas, the bodies contained in the mass grave were buried there secretly without the requisite process of having the Colombian government certify that the deceased were indeed the armed combatants the Army claims.

And, given the current "false positive" scandal which has enveloped the government of President Alvaro Uribe and his Defense Minister, Juan Manuel Santos, who is now running to succeed Uribe as President, the Colombian Army's claim about the mass grave is especially suspect. This scandal revolves around the Colombian military, most recently under the direction of Juan Manuel Santos, knowingly murdering civilians in cold blood and then dressing them up to look like armed guerillas in order to justify more aid from the United States. According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pilay, this practice has been so "systematic and widespread" as to amount to a "crime against humanity." And sadly, when Ms. Pilay made this statement, she literally did not know the half of it.

To date, not factoring in the mass grave, it has been confirmed by Colombian government sources that 2,000 civilians have fallen victim to the "false positive" scheme since President Uribe took office in 2002. If, as suspected by Colombian human rights groups, such as the "Comision de Derechos Humanos del Bajo Ariari" and the "Colectivo Orlando Fals Borda," the mass grave in La Macarena contains 2,000 more civilian victims of this scheme, then this would bring the total of those victimized by the "false positive" scandal to at least 4,000 --much worse than originally believed.


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