Historic Ruling Halts Mining, Returns 50,000 Hectares to Indigenous Peoples in Colombia


A Colombian legal tribunal has ordered 11 companies to halt gold-mining operations in a 50,000-hectare (124,000-acre) reserve in the northwest of the country and return the land to the native tribe that previously lived there.

This is a “first of its kind” ruling in the Adean community of nations. The 7,270-person Embera Katio tribe was originally forced out from their land in Choco by mining companies and violent illegal groups.

Choco, located on the Pacific coast, is strategically valuable to drug traffickers, Marxist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups. The Embera Katio were victims of killings and forcible recruitment when they lived there.

Chocó is among the top ten most important hotspots in the world in terms of its concentration of both biodiversity and climate change-mitigating capacity.

The key corporations affected are AngloGold Ashanti, as well as Exploraciones Choco Colombia, Gongora and El Molino.

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