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Clemencia Carabalí: Black Communities' Rights Award

Monday, 9 September 2019

Clemencia (6)

Woman, black and rural", this describes Clemencia Carabalí, the winner of the National Award for the Defense of Human Rights as "Defender of the Year", awarded by the Swedish Church and Diakonia.

This recognition, she says, "is very important, as it makes it more important and supports the work that human and ethnic rights defenders do in Colombia. And at this particular moment in Cauca, where the situation of violation of HRD remains critical. For Afro-Colombian women who decide to remain in our territories, defending life, building peace, hope and freedom, this recognition is fundamental."

Member and president of the Association of Afro-Descendants of North Cauca (ASOM), Clemencia began her defense of the rights of black communities, 22 years ago when, finishing her high school, she "stung the bug of leadership" with a subject called community projection, in which he guided families on how they could build homemade orchards to improve children's nutrition.

Seeing the unmet basic needs of the Cauca communities, "Clema", as his homeland is told in Buenos Aires Cauca, decided that he would dedicate his life to the heroic struggle for the defense and vindication of the rights of the Afro-Colombian population. "To see how difficult it has been for women to face the responsibility of the home, but also to generate economic resources, the responsibility of caring for the community and caring for the territory. So, in particular, I thought it was a very difficult burden and that the only way to cope was to go to those feelings and those bonds of solidarity that must be between us. From this came the need to generate a dynamic of women that was initially designed to help us among ourselves."

The Alliance Foundation for Rights, Equality and Solidarity has accompanied this invaluable struggle of Clemency and ASOM, and of Victor Hugo Moreno Mina, senior advisor of the Association of Community Councils of the North of Cauca (ACONC) and also finalist of the the same category, by the consolidation of territorial peace, the exercise of population rights, democratic participation and sustainable and inclusive development, from a differential and gender-based approach in the peaceful region, whose projects are supported by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation – AECID and Junta de Andalucía.

Clemency, you're a cheerful and very brave woman. The latter has cost him his exile on several occasions (2009, 2010 and 2013) and several attacks, such as the occurred on May 1. Violence in the country has increased despite the signing of the Peace Agreement in 2016. According to the We Are Defenders Programme, assaults (threats, murders, attacks, detensions, judicializations and theft of information) on human rights defenders increased in the first quarter of 2019 by 22% with 245 assaults, whereas, in the same period in 2018, 146 were registered.

A pesar de esto, “Clema” continúa trabajando incesantemente como lo ha hecho durante más de dos décadas en la defensa y reivindicación de derechos como la reparación colectiva, la consulta previa y el consentimiento libre e informado para la pervivencia de la gente en territorios mayoritariamente étnicos; la protección de rutas étnicas; la implementación de medidas especiales para la población afrocolombiana en situación de desplazamiento; la defensa de los derechos de las mujeres; y la implementación del Acuerdo de Paz, firmado entre el gobierno nacional y las FARC – EP.

Despite the difficult conditions of her territory, she does not lose hope and believes that peacebuilding is possible. "I know that it is not easy and that in these times it is like that hopelessness reappears, but we have to persist, we have no choice. I believe that women are called to bring about change in these communities, in our region and in our Colombia. This country has beautiful things, our regions have many resources that we could all live on, and we need to rebuild that social fabric and continue to teach them, to continue to show our daughters the way."

En los últimos 20 años, Alianza ha dado atención y ha acompañado a más de 100.000 personas del Suroccidente Colombiano, con trabajo concentrado en Nariño, Cauca, Valle del Cauca y Bogotá D.C., con la puesta en marcha de proyectos productivos y de seguridad alimentaria facilitando el acceso a alimentos; la construcción de servicios e instalaciones de agua y saneamiento en las comunidades; la creación de nuevos barrios para la población desplazada; asistencia humanitaria a la población afectada en sectores de Agua, Higiene y Saneamiento, Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición; Protección; Educación en el Riesgo de Minas; Construcción de Paz y Desarrollo; y acompañamiento social, legal y psicológico, con especial atención a las mujeres, niños, niñas, adolescentes y jóvenes, quienes han sufrido en mayor medida las consecuencias del conflicto.

Otros ganadores del VIII Premio Nacional de Derechos Humanos, que reconoce una vez más a quienes defienden la vida, protegen los territorios, construyen paz y buscan de manera incansable mejorar las condiciones de vida de las comunidades vulneradas en sus derechos y afectadas por el conflicto armado, fueron los defensores y defensoras de la Asociación Campesina del Valle del Río Cimitarra (ACVC), los defensoras y defensoras investigadores de la Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento (CODHES) y el defensor Ricardo Esqui

Clemencia (2)Imágenes decidas por Darwin Torres, integrante del Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN).

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