Defender at risk in Covid-19 Quarantine

Catatumbo, Colombia, 2019
days left to take action

Jani Silva is an environmental, human rights and peace defender who has promoted the implementation of the Peace Agreement in the territory and has promoted reforestation initiatives, denouncing the socio-environmental effects of oil operations, including those of Amerisur. Amerisur is a hydrocarbon exploitation company operating mainly in Putumayo basins. The company has the following partners in its operations: ONGC Videsh Ltd (India), Canacol Energy Ltd. (Canada), Pluspetrol (Netherlands), Pacific Exploration & Production (Frontera Energy, Canada), Vetra (Colombia) and Occidental Petroleum (USA).

Due to her role as a peace defender, armed groups have threatened to take her life in order to silence one of the strongest social causes’ voices in Putumayo. Jani has also received threats for opposing an oil company in the area. She has been threatened with taking her life and the life of her family members if she continues to promote demonstrations for a healthy environment. The origin of the threats is unknown.

Jani Silva is the legal representative of the Association for the Integral and Sustainable Development of the Amazon Pearl (Asociación para el Desarrollo Integral y Sostenible de la Perla Amazónica, ADISPA), which is in a community organization aimed to protect the rights of the communities that live in the Peasant Reservation Area of the Amazon Pearl. 

On March 26th, 2020, the Inter-Church Commission for Truth and Peace (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz) received information about a scheme to kill Jani Silva during any of her movements to the Peasant Reservation Area. 

Since president Iván Duque declared a national quarantine on March 24, at least 14 people who defend human rights and social leaders have been killed, 3 of them while they complied with the quarantine in their homes. The incident taking place on 22 April occurred during the lockdown ordered by the Colombian government to avoid the spread of the COVID-19, which in Puerto Asís, starts on 6 p.m. and finishes on 5 a.m. 

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