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Solidarity Campaign with Miller Dussán and ASOQUIMBO

The practices of an Italian multinational in Huila, Colombia, exemplify how the criminalization of activists is increasingly used to end dissent and real democratic participation in Latin America. We have a live campaign underway in relation to this case.

Campaign Victory – ENEL-EMGESA Withdraws Second Charge against Miller Dussan

(22nd April 2017) After several months of international campaigning, the Democracy Center has just received a reply from ENEL-EMGESA (in Spanish) via the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre stating that they have formally requested that the Colombian Public Prosecutor withdraw the legal charges against Miller Dussan.  ASQUIMBO have hailed the news as another major triumph for their resistance efforts.  We reiterate our solidarity with their struggle and that of environmental defenders across the region facing similar harassment and criminalisation. A more complete update for supporters of the campaign will follow shortly.


The Democracy Center’s Second Reply to ENEL-EMGESA

In their most recent reply to us on 21st February 2017, via the Business and Human Rights Resource Center (BHRRC), ENEL-EMGESA claims to have “no interest in a fight with Asoquimbo” and that it “will waive any further pending claim” against the organisation’s leaders. In our response, sent recently to the company and published here, we lay out the precise steps the company would have to follow to turn these words in to actions.  READ MORE.


CAMPAIGN UPDATE: WIN FOR COLOMBIAN DEFENDERS FACING ONGOING CRIMINALISATION OF PROTEST FOR THEIR RESISTANCE TO MEGADAM

On 30th March at the local courts in Garzon, Huila, charges against both Miller Dussan and Elsa Ardila were dropped in relation to the allegations of “obstructing public roads and affecting public order.”  The company has softened its position thanks, in part, to international pressure.  Work still remains to be done however as Miller Dussán still faces a second set of charges in relation to  “instigating the occupation of land” owned by the corporation. Read More in this campaign update.


The Democracy Center’s reply to ENEL-EMGESA

In response to our article ‘Damming Dissent‘ on the Open Democracy website on 23rd January 2017, ENEL-EMGESA replied to us via the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre platform.  Among other things, the corporations attempts to distance itself  from the legal proceedings against Miller Dussán and Elsa Ardila.  In this response by the Democracy Center, we draw on statements by a Colombian lawyer, a Colombian Public Prosecutor and the Office of the Inspector General in Colombia to demonstrate the decisive role ENEL-EMGESA has had in the legal cases. READ MORE.


Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

International human rights organisation BHRRC has also been following the case of Miller Dussán, ASOQUIMBO and ENEL.

Their case profile can be found at this link.


Public Statement by International Civil Society

International civil society organisations and academic institutions have condemned Italian multinational, ENEL’s role in the clamp down on social protest in Colombia and declared their firm support for the communities affected by the Quimbo dam.

PUBLIC STATEMENT – TO CEASE THE JUDICIAL PERSECUTION AGAINST MILLER DUSSÁN AND ELSA ARDILA AND IN SUPPORT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF THOSE AFFECTED BY THE QUIMBO DAM PROJECT (ASOQUIMBO) IN COLOMBIA.  LINK TO PUBLIC STATEMENT  


Article by Democracy Center staff on Open Democracy

The Democracy Center’s Philippa de Boissiere and Thomas Mc Donagh write on Open Democracy giving background to the Quimbo dam project, local resistance and the strategy of criminalisation of protest being used to quell dissent.

Damming Dissent: How An Italian Multinational Is Persecuting Environmental Defenders In Colombia


Miller Dussán’s profile on FrontLine Defenders

Miller Dussán’s profile has been included on the website of international human rights organisation FrontLine Defenders as an ‘at-risk’ human rights defender because of the legal persecution he faces at the hands of EMGESA-ENEL and the heightened risk to his personal security.

His profile can be accessed here and messages of solidarity can be sent via the profile.


Miller Dussán’s video message for the CEO of ENEL, Francesco Starace.

(Italian version here)