Canadian publications mail, Contract No. 40008541 SUMMER 2001 VOLUME 11 NUMBER 1
The Kidnapping of Colombian Activist
Kimy Pernía Domicó
hen native leader Kimy Pernía Domicó When the Embera organized and demanded their
spoke with the Rights & Democracy/ constitutionally protected rights, the paramili-
Assembly of First Nations Mission to tary groups accused them of collaborating with
Colombia of the crisis situation facing the Embera- the guerrillas of the Armed Revolutionary Forces
Katío people, he had surely not imagined that the of Colombia (FARC). In turn, the FARC forcibly
horror of his own kidnapping and disappearance conscripted some natives, and accused the civil-
two days later would spark an international out- ian community of aiding the paramilitaries. The
cry. Warren Allmand, president of Rights & Democ- toll on the Embera has been heavy: 11 leaders
racy, Ghislain Picard, regional chief of the dead since 1994, and now the disappearance of
Assembly of First Nations, Lydia Hwitsum, Chief of Kimy Pernía Domicó.
Photo: Kathy Price, ICCHRLA.
the Cowichan Tribes, and Beth Phinney, Chair of Floro Tunubalá, Colombia’s only indigenous
the Parliamentary sub-Committee on Human elected governor, reported a similar situation
Rights, had met with Pernía in the Colombian city from the western department of Cauca, where he
of Medellín, at a meeting organized by the Indige- came to power last October after a landslide win.
nous Organization of Antioquia. “I received an anonymous call telling me I had
At dusk on June 2, Pernía Domicó was been brought to power by the armed left, and I
grabbed from the streets of Tierralta, Cordoba, at was thus a military target,” Tunubalá told the
gunpoint by heavily armed men believed to be mission when they visited his offices in the
far-right paramilitaries. He had previously regional capital of Popayán. “The next day, For Colombia’s indigenous peoples, any effort
received numerous threats. This tragic case pro- another anonymous caller said I had been sup- to promote peace must address root issues of the
vides some illustration of the situation facing ported by the paramilitaries, and I was thus con- conflict. And one of those root issues is clearly
Colombia’s 84 indigenous nations, who have been sidered a military target of the guerrillas.” the State’s failure to adequately protect aboriginal
reduced to 800,000 natives — a mere 2% of the Tunubalá spoke of the harmful effects of US aerial lands, essential to the survival of these peoples.
population. The survival of Kimy Pernía Domicó’s fumigation of illicit crops and of his own econom- “Our concerns as indigenous peoples must be
Embera-Katío people had been threatened by the ic development plan for the department. Yet as addressed in the peace process — otherwise, there
part Canadian-financed Urrá hydroelectric dam long as the war continues, it is impossible to will be no real and lasting solution to the conflict,”
mega-project, a project that dried up their staple implement this plan as the various armed actors the joint mission heard. “We ask you, Canadians,
diet of fish, and brought environmental destruc- vie for territorial control, each extorting money to be messengers to the Colombian government
tion and malaria to the community of 2,000. from civilians caught in the midst of the violence. and to the outside world, of our concerns.”
Rights & Democracy is a Canadian organization with an international mandate. It works with civil
society and governments in Canada and abroad to promote human rights and democratic devel-
opment through dialogue, advocacy, capacity building and public education. It focuses on four
themes: democratic development, women’s rights, globalization and human rights, and the rights
of indigenous peoples.
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e sadly said good-bye to
long-time board member
Iona Campagnolo. A for-
Muntarbhorn from Thailand and
Michèle Rouleau from Québec. Mr.
Muntarbhorn is a professor at the woman
mer Cabinet Minister in Canada Faculty of Law of Chulalongkorn
and Chairperson of the Fraser University in Thailand. He also
Basin Council in Vancouver, she works as a consultant with
has just been named British UNICEF and other UN agencies
Columbia’s new lieutenant- on children’s rights issues.
governor. We appreciate her valu-
able contribution and commit-
ment to Rights & Democracy.
Ms. Rouleau is former president of
Native Women of Quebec and a
commissioner at the Québec
We are pleased to welcome two
new board members, Vitit
human rights commission.
r. Sima Samar has been selected as this
New publications year’s John Humphrey Freedom Award
recipient for her efforts to strengthen
the human rights of women and girls in
Afghanistan and in refugee camps on the
Investigating Women’s Rights Violations in A Human Rights Framework for Trade in the Northern border of Pakistan. The Award, which
Armed Conflicts, a joint Rights & Democracy and Americas is given each year by Rights & Democracy,
Amnesty International Canada (English Section) As globalization and its effects are increasingly includes a $25,000 grant and a speaking tour
publication, was launched in May, the second in a felt at the furthest reaches of the planet, who of Canada, and is named in honour of John
series on gender-sensitive documentation metho- arbitrates when the rules drawn up behind the Peters Humphrey, the Canadian who prepared
dology. closed doors of international financial summits the first draft of the Universal Declaration of
Written by Agnès Callamard of Amnesty’s Inter- contradict the international human rights Human Rights. It will be presented in Montréal
national Secretariat in London, in collaboration treaties already ratified by those same govern- on Monday, December 10, 2001, International
with Ariane Brunet, Rights & Democracy’s ments? This is essentially the question asked by Human Rights Day. Following the Award cere-
Women’s Rights Programme Coordinator, the Rights & Democracy’s paper A Human Rights monies in Montréal, Dr. Samar will also travel
booklet is part of a series which includes a manu- Framework for Trade in the Americas, written by to other cities in Canada to meet with stu-
al, Methodology for Gender-Sensitive Research, and Globalization and Human Rights Programme Coor- dents, representatives of human rights groups,
a previously published booklet: Documenting dinator Diana Bronson and Lucie Lamarche of the churches, government and the media.
Human Rights Université du Québec à Montréal. The paper In the face of repeated death threats, Dr.
Violations by examines international human rights law and Samar defies the ruling Taliban’s edicts that
State Agents: how its application can be ensured in the current deny women and girls their basic rights to edu-
Sexual Vio- context of liberalization of global investment and cation, employment, mobility and medical
lence. A fur- finance. It is available in English, French and care. Since 1989, Dr. Samar has been operating
ther three Spanish from Rights & Democracy, and at schools for girls and health clinics in many of
booklets are www.ichrdd.ca. the provinces of Afghanistan as well as in the
planned to refugee camps in Quetta, Pakistan. She refuses
address hu- Is Free Trade a Fair Game?, a popularized leaflet to accept that women must be kept in purdah
man rights version of the paper, is also available from Rights (secluded from the public) and speaks out
violations in & Democracy in English, French and Spanish. The against the wearing of the burqa (head-to-foot
the communi- leaflet opens out into a poster of a striking black- wrap).
ty by private and-white photojournalistic interpretation of the The international jury for the John
actors as well impact of free trade, by photographer Benoit Aquin. Humphrey Freedom Award met in June to con-
as the econo- sider over 80 nominations from around the
mic and social world. For more details about the Award
causes of hu- process and Dr. Samar’s cross-Canada tour,
man rights please contact Augie van Biljouw at
Women’s Rights Violations in Armed Conflicts is
available in French and English. The price is CDN
$15.00, plus CDN $5.00 for postage outside
Canada. To order: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 SUMMER 2001 • VOLUME 11 • NUMBER 1
Ottawa Must Support UN Draft Declaration
on the Rights of
n the eve of National Aboriginal Day, Rights states, including
& Democracy’s President Warren Allmand Canada, for chan-
made a symbolic presentation to Canadian ges in the drafting
indigenous leaders of a letter of support for the of most of the
UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous articles. However,
Peoples. The letter, signed by a broad range of the indigenous
Canadian non-native organizations, calls on the representatives at
Photo: Gérald McKenzie.
Canadian government to support the Draft Decla- the UN defend the
ration at the UN and urge other governments to draft almost una-
also press the UN to adopt this text. nimously. They
The 45-article document was drafted by say the current
experts of the UN Working Group on Indigenous text is the result
Peoples. It reaffirms indigenous peoples’ basic of debate and the
rights, in particular that of being recognized as fruit of compromise Warren Allmand presents the letter of support signed by over 100 organizations and indivi-
peoples with the right to self-determination. This on everyone’s part, duals to Romeo Diom Saganash of the Grand Council of Crees, Michèle Audette of the Native
issue has been identified by experts as and do not Women of Quebec, and Kenneth Deer of the Eastern Door, Kahnawake at the Native Friendship
the cornerstone of the whole debate w a n t Centre in Montréal.
on indigenous peoples, particu- t o
larly as international law see it weakened by changes. contentsEnglish.html for text). The letter calls on
applies the status of peoples The Draft Declaration was the Canada to voice strong support for the Draft Decla-
to the non-indigenous. Yet, subject of a round-table ration at the UN Conference against Racism in Dur-
despite this fact, and the discussion organized by ban, South Africa, in early September this year.
general opinion that the Rights & Democracy in Mon- “Failure to recognize indigenous peoples’
draft instrument reflects tréal on May 24, during right to self-determination, when this right is
basic minimum standards, which non-native NGOs, readily accorded to other, non-indigenous peo-
only two of its articles have c h u r c h , t r a d e union, ples, is clearly racism,” Warren Allmand said.
been adopted at the UN after women’s and student groups Rights & Democracy will continue to raise this
six years of discussion. formulated an open letter to the issue with the Canadian government and will also
The current impasse can be government of Canada (see make known its position in South Africa at the
explained by calls made by some w w w. i c h r d d . c a / 1 1 1 / e n g l i s h / UN Conference.
Freedom for Haroun M’Barek — the Tunisian student who
was denied political asylum in Canada and deport-
ed to Tunisia in January — was finally freed from
prison on May 26, 2001.
Rights & Democracy is launching an elec-
tronic version of its newsletter Libert@s in
Haroun Upon his arrival in Tunisia in January, he dis-
covered that in his absence he had been found
guilty of being part of a criminal gang and had
been sentenced to three years in prison and five
mid-September in order to increase its con-
tacts with partners, friends and supporters
around the world. If you wish to receive this
M’Barek years of mandatory supervision.
Despite his release, Mr. M’Barek must return to
court in September to appeal his guilty verdict.
According to several sources, the Canadian gov-
ernment is now ready to accept Mr. M’Barek if he
monthly electronic bulletin, please email
email@example.com to ensure that we
have your electronic address.
is able to recover his Tunisian passport.
SUMMER 2001 • VOLUME 11 • NUMBER 1 3
I N T E R N A T I O N A L C E N T R E F O R H U M A N R I G H T S A N D D E M O C R A T I C D E V E L O P M E N T
S ights & Democracy Ms. Brunet spoke on The Rise of Religious Ms. Desnoyers attended the Latin America
and the Vancouver- Rights and Women’s Rights on May 22 in Region Consultation on Human Rights Defend-
based International Sherbrooke (Québec) at the annual meeting of ers in Mexico City from June 13 to 15, orga-
Centre for Criminal Law ACFEAS (Association canadienne-française nized by Amnesty International with financial
Reform and Criminal Justice d’éducation et d’action sociale) and on May 23, support from Rights & Democracy. It was the
Policy (ICCLR) hosted a work- she spoke on Integrating a Gender Perspective first time the UN Special Representative on
shop on the ratification and implementation of in Peacekeeping Operations to students attend- Human Rights Defenders Hina Jilani met and
the Rome Statute for an International Criminal ing a seminar organized by the Pearson Centre consulted with regional organizations, includ-
Court, in Kingston, Jamaica during the first in Montréal. ing the Ad Hoc Comité de Defensores en Colom-
week of May. The workshop, chaired by Rights & On May 22, Mr. Allmand was guest speaker bia and the Comité de Defensores en Mexico.
Democracy President Warren Allmand, was at the meeting of the Montréal Chapter of the On June 20, Mr. Allmand spoke out against
designed to help Caribbean countries with tech- World Federalists and on May 26 he spoke out the death penalty before members of the
nical information necessary to ratify and on economic, social and cultural rights at McGill Montréal Chapter of Amnesty International. On
implement the ICC Statute. Several other organi- University in Montréal. National Aboriginal Day, June 21, Mr. Allmand
zations participated and supported this initia- Following the joint mission with the Assem- again (see page 3) called on Canada to support
tive funded by the Canadian government, bly of First Nations and Rights & Democracy to the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of
including the Institute for Media, Policy and Colombia (see page 1), Mr. Allmand attended Indigenous Peoples at a rally before the Supreme
Civil Society (IMPACS) of Vancouver, the Canadi- the annual Organization of American States Court of Canada in Ottawa. Mr. Allmand attend-
an Network for an International Criminal Court (OAS) General Assembly in Costa Rica from June ed the conference of the Democracy Foundation
and ILANUD, the UN regional organization spe- 3 to 6, where he lobbied for the strengthening from June 23 to 27 in Berlin and spoke on Mak-
cialized in criminal justice and crime preven- of the proposed Democratic Charter. Geneviève ing Democracy Sustainable. From June 22 to
tion whose mandate includes the Caribbean Lesssard, Assistant Coordinator of the Democra- July 1, Africa Regional Officer Akouété Akakpo-
countries, and the Judicial Training Institute of tic Development Programme, Madeleine Vidah attended the National Conference on
the Ministry of the National Security and Desnoyers, the Regional Officer for the Human Rights organized by the government of
Justice of Jamaica. Americas, and Sofia Macher, a member of the the Democratic Republic of Congo in Kinshasa
From May 3 to 9, Assistant Coordinator Board of Directors of Rights & Democracy from and from July 8 to 16 he was in Lusaka, Zambia,
Carole Samdup attended a meeting of UN Special Peru, also attended and met with partners in for a workshop on African Unity and Democracy
Rapporteurs in Geneva on Social, Economic and the region. organized by Rights & Democracy with partners
Cultural Rights. On May 6, Ariane Brunet, Coor- Diana Bronson, Coordinator of the Globaliza- to pave the way for a Summit of the Peoples of
dinator of the Women’s Rights Programme spoke tion and Human Rights Programme, made a pre- Africa to be held in 2002, parallel to the first
at the launch of Investigating Women’s Rights sentation in Montréal before the Canadian Assembly of the African Union.
Violations in Armed Conflicts at the first Inter- Democracy and Corporate Accountability Com-
national Conference on Refugee Women Fleeing mission on June 6, calling for legal reforms of
Gender-based Persecution organized by the the Canadian Business Corporations Act and the
Canadian Council of Refugees in Montréal. Special Economic Measures Act, to ensure that
Micheline Lévesque, Regional Officer for Canadian corporations are accountable and to
Asia, attended the annual meeting of the encourage them to be more responsible.
National Coalition Government of the Union of Mr. Allmand attended a conference orga-
Burma (NCGUB) in Washington on May 15 and nized by the International Centre on Criminal
the Ottawa May 17 meeting of the Canadian NGO Law Reform (ICCLR) to celebrate its 10th
Committee on Burma. anniversary in Vancouver on June 9 and 10.
Libertas is the quarterly newsletter of Rights & Democracy. It is available free of charge and is accessible electronically at www.ichrdd.ca. Articles may be freely excerpted,
provided credit is given and a copy of the publication in which the material appears is sent to Rights & Democracy. Legal Deposit, 3rd quarter 2001. ISSN 1027-0884.
Rights & Democracy’s Documentation Centre is open to the public. Call (514) 283-6073 for an appointment.
Editor: Augie van Biljouw (firstname.lastname@example.org). Production: Laperrière Communication. Translation: Marie-Claude Hecquet.
Board of Directors: Kathleen Mahoney (Chairperson), Warren Allmand (President), Harry W. Arthurs, Michel Corbeil, Lydia A. Hwitsum, Suzanne Laporte, Sofia Macher, David
Matas, Vitit Muntarbhorn, Willy Munyoki Mutunga, Robert Pace, Michèle Rouleau.
4 SUMMER 2001 • VOLUME 11 • NUMBER 1