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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Jul 31, 2012, 03:07 PM

2. Palm oil businessmen arrested over forced displacement in Choco .

Palm oil businessmen arrested over forced displacement in Choco .
Thursday, 20 May 2010 10:55 Sandra Hernandez

Colombia's prosecutor general ordered the arrest of 24 individuals from palm oil companies in the north-west department of Choco. The men are suspected of organizing the forced displacement of two Afro-Colombians communities from the Curvarado and Jiguamiand river basins.

La Verdad Abierta reports that the men are accused of forced displacement, conspiracy, and invasion of properties belonging to Afro-Colombian communities.

The groups were displaced in the late 1990s after suffering violence from paramilitary groups.

When they attempted to return the communities again suffered violence from armed groups, and found that their land had been taken over by palm companies. In 2009, the Constitutional Court found that the rights of the communities had been violated, and ordered the government to do everything possible to return the groups to their lands.

In December 2009 the Ombudsman's Office reported that "individuals and businesses" had infiltrated the internal processes of the community councils in the area, funding and promoting assemblies in order to shape the local laws to their interest. The companies also funded campaigns to discredit local humanitarian groups.


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