Archive - Mar 28, 2011

IRAQ REFLECTION: "I want everyone to hear this story"--anniversary of chemical gas attack on Halabja


March 16 was the anniversary of Saddam Hussein ordering the chemical bombing of Halabja, Iraqi Kurdistan, which killed more than 5000 people.

Kaka A. was the driver for our CPT delegation last year.  We had gradually become like an extension of his family.  So, when we visited Halabja, his home, he would not accept payment for that portion of our journey together.  While we were there, visiting the Halabja memorial to the thousands of people who died in the 1988 chemical attack, Kaka A. shared his story with us.

COLOMBIA ANALYSIS: Despite arrest threats, people of Las Pavas continue to struggle for their land

The people of Las Pavas are a sustainable farming community in the southern Bolivar department (province) of Colombia.  Through the years, paramilitary violence has forced community members to leave the land but each time they have returned.  In 2006, the community was in the process of claiming its land rights under Colombian law when a Daabon consortium[1] bought the land from absentee owner, who had lost his rights to the land due to years of abandonment.  On 14 July 2009, the Colombian riot police forcefully removed the community of Las Pavas.  Over a year has passed since the illegal eviction of the 123 families (more than 500 people) from the Las Pavas farm.  Unable to grow their own food, throughout this year the community has been living in a humanitarian crisis.…

On 19 February 2011, ten armed men entered the village of Buenos Aires with a known paramilitary looking for one of the community leaders, claiming to have an arrest warrant.  After further investigation, the community learned that no arrest warrants are pending, but that national police have started an investigation against three leaders of the community for the crimes of possible land invasion and clandestine meetings in preparation for the crime.  In other words, they are being investigated for the possibility that they will return to land that is rightfully theirs.