Colombia: Stop the chainsaws

David Vollrath from Rainforest Rescue hands over the signatures to the diplomatic secretary Handover of the signatures in the Colombian embassy

Jan 24, 2013

On January 17, 2013, Rainforest Rescue had an appointment at the Colombian Embassy in Berlin. We presented senior embassy staff a petition with 72,877 signatures protesting the impending illegal clearance of 4,000 rainforest trees in Colombia’s Atrato region.

The community of Santa Rosa de El Limón in Colombia’s Atrato region is still struggling to protect its forest against the chainsaws of the transnational Maderas del Darién – Pizano S.A. timber group. Rainforest Rescue supported the community’s campaign with an online petition and public relations work. On January 17, 2013, we had an appointment with diplomatic secretary for environmental affairs Karol Daza Bula at the Colombian Embassy in Berlin, and presented her the petition with 72,877 signatures.

In the meeting, we called on the embassy to work for the protection of the people of Santa Rosa de El Limón and their rainforest. The U.S. timber group has no legal basis for its plan to fell 4,000 trees on community property. Santa Rosa de El Limón has held a collective land title – and therefore the right to independent administration of its territory – since 2000. The community forest is also protected by law. Business projects may only be realized on the land with the approval of the municipality, and Santa Rosa de El Limón is vehemently opposed to the clearing plans of Maderas del Darién.

Rainforest Rescue called on the Colombian ambassador to advocate the rights of the affected communities and demand that his government put an end to the illicit timber trade in Atrato. We also called for the Colombian justice system to look into the case and file charges against Maderas del Darién senior executives. 

We were assured that the embassy would forward our petition to the Colombian government authorities, and that we would be informed of action taken by the government in the matter.  

We would like to thank everyone who supported the online petition.