Tierra Digna is a Colombian organization dedicated to the defense of communities affected by economic policies and projects that threaten their territories and lead to human rights violations and environmental devastation. The organization offers comprehensive support to communities, through legal assistance and research, guaranteeing access to justice for affected communities and their rights in order to counteract the impunity that characterizes these violations.
Tierra Digna began about five years ago and the team is made up of three lawyers and one economist, with post-graduate work in the areas of environmental law, international law, development and aid. Additionally, Tierra Digna counts on a group of temporary collaborators and volunteers who help in the achievement of their activities.
Currently, the thematic areas that Tierra Digna focuses on in terms of monitoring, litigation, research and advocacy, are the following:
In terms of mining specifically, Tierra Digna develops work to highlight the impacts of large scale coal and gold mining on human rights, together with comprehensive support of communities located in the departments of the Choco (gold) and Cesar (coal) that have been affected by already existing mining or because of the danger that their territories are titled to mining exploitation in the future. Their work questions the mining policies pushed forward by the Colombian government and seeks to influence public mining policies, demanding that there be consultation with and consent of the affected communities and that their true impacts be discussed. Through their work, Tierra Digna carries out a process of research and follow-up on the impacts of coal mining, its business and use of infrastructure for the transport and activities that have been generated on the territory.
The FOR Peace Presence team is currently accompanying Tierra Digna in Colombia’s costal region (particularly in Cesar and Magdalena). This area is highly paramilitarized and in the last 20 years, has been subject to the arrival of various large coal companies (US company Drummond, Swiss company Glencore, and even US investment firm Goldman Sachs owns a mine in Cesar). These companies practice open pit coal mining, almost entirely for export to coal-consuming countries and regions like the United States and Europe. Open-pit coal mining is one of the most environmentally destructive forms of mining. Unfortunately, there are not many NGOs working in the Coastal Region, leaving it more vulnerable to human rights abuses and environmental destruction.
FOR Peace Presence is working closely with Tierra Digna to hold these corporations accountable for the devastation and abuse they’ve ravaged against Colombian communities and the environment. Please keep an eye out for our upcoming video blogs, articles, photo series, and webinars for the latest on our work with Tierra Digna and what you can do to get involved.