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Defending land and environmental rights in Colombia

Tuesday 28 January 2014, 1.30PM to 2:30 PM

Speaker(s): Rommel Durán Castellanos

Rommel Durán Castellanos is a Colombian lawyer and human rights defender who works with the Colombian Association of Human Rights Lawyers (ACADEHUM), the 'Pueblos' Legal Team and is a volunteer with the Committee for Solidarity with Political Prisoners (CSPP).

Since 2007, Rommel has been defending marginalized communities and victims of human rights abuses and carrying out grassroots training workshops on human rights and protection mechanisms. In particular, he represents victims of extrajudicial executions in the north-east of Colombia and other regions of the country, and victims of crimes such as enforced disappearance, torture and killings, perpetrated by State agents and paramilitary groups.

Recently Rommel has been subjected to a campaign of threats, attacks and stigmatisation because of his work accompanying small-scale farming communities who are claiming the restitution of their lands under the Colombian Victims and Land Restitution Law. These include the Pitalito Community (Cesar region), the Maicito en Pelaya Land Restitution Process (Cesar) and the Sabana de Torres Land Process (Santander).

Rommel is also a lecturer and research student in International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law, at the Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS).

During Rommel's visit, he will be speaking about the serious and continuing risks to human rights lawyers and other human rights defenders, and about the problem of land and environmental rights in Colombia, in particular in relation to the cases he is working on. He will be asking for specific actions from the international community to support the work of human rights defenders in Colombia and communities seeking land restitution.

Location: AEW/003, Alcuin East Wing, University of York, Heslington West Campus, Heslington, York

Admission: Free