Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Four environmental defenders were victims of an attack with firearms by unknown people while assessing possible environmental harm in the Magdalena Medio region

On May 31st, four environmental defenders from the organization Federation of Santander Fishers for Tourism and Environment (FEDEPESAN) were victims of an attack with firearms by unknown people while assessing possible environmental harm in the Magdalena Medio region, an extensive inter-Andean valley in the central part of Colombia formed by the Magdalena River. We urge the Ministry of Interior to adopt immediate measures to guarantee the life and right to defend human rights of members of FEDEPESAN.

Take action: write an appeal in your own words or use this model letter

Mr. Daniel Palacios Martínez

Ministry of Interior

Calle 12 B No. 8 - 43

Bogotá Colombia



Dear Minister,


I am writing to express concern for the safety of the members of FEDESPAN, an organization committed to the defence, promotion, and protection of human rights and the environment in the Magdalena medio region in Colombia.


On May 31st, four of its members (one accompanied by a security escort due to mounting security concerns in the region) were victims of an attack with firearms when they were in one of their motor-canoes carrying out monitoring work on environmental effects. The attack happened in the river section where the Rosario, Palotal and San Silvestre canyon interconnect, in the city of Barrancabermeja.


We call on the Colombian Government to live up to its 2009 commitment on implementing the Roundtable on Guarantee of Human Rights and effectively provide protection to Territory, Land, and environmental defenders in the region.



Yours sincerely,

Additional information

Amnesty International considers that the Colombian state is not fully committed to protect Territory, Land and Environmental Defenders. In 2020, Amnesty International denounced that regardless of the extensive legislation on HRDs in the country, the State has done very little to offer comprehensive protection for TLERDs in the country, which is considered the deadliest for Global Witness and Frontline Defenders.


In April 2021, Amnesty International launched an UA for CREDHOS, an environmental organization working in the Magdalena Medio region and faced similar risks than FEDESPAN. The State took the measures we requested in the UA.


CREDHOS released a national urgent action on the FEDESPAN situation. FEDESPAN released a press release on the May 31st incident.


Tags: Four environmental defenders, Magdalena Medio region, FEDEPESAN.