We are sorry to share the news of the assassination of Johan Ferney Aguilar González. He was a Colombian environmental defender and also the son of Wilder Antonio Aguilar Rodríguez, who is a social leader and environmental defender in the neighborhood of Santa Filomena, municipality of Falan, Colombia. 

Johan Ferney was killed on the 3nd of September, hours after a public hearing of the National Mining Agency, where both he and his father were present among 700 others. In the public hearing his father made a public complaint about death threats he had received prior related to the resistance against the mining project of Miranda Gold.

This tragic event is a direct attack on those who have fought tirelessly to defend their rights and their land against the interests of companies operating in the region. This act is a threat to defenders of territory and human rights and a warning to all those who oppose the interests of corporate powers.

Together with our Colombian partners we demand justice:

  • We demand an impartial investigation to be developed on this act of violence, in order to ensure that it does not go unpunished.  
  • We demand that the environmental authorities, especially the National Mining Agency, sanctions all mining activities until guarantees of peace and protection are given to the entire community. 
  • We make an urgent call to the local, regional and national authorities to provide protection and security to the leaders who are committed to the struggle for justice and the protection of their territory from powerful economic interests. 
  • We ask the international community to demand from the Colombian government to protect the lives and personal integrity of the leaders and communities who fight to protect their territories.
  • We demand for the respect of human rights and the safety of those who dedicate themselves to the defense of their communities and the land that belongs to them.

CATAPA follows the case of Falan for a while now. Read here more about Falan, where multinational mining companies (among them Miranda Gold) are exploring the wider region to start with their big scale mining projects while environmental defenders are rising up to protect their lands. As described in this article with a focus on Falán, death treads are a common practice used by multinational mining companies to force a community to comply with their plans. We are disturbed and saddened that these death threats have been followed with the actual murder of Johan Ferney.  With his death the people of Falan are suffering the enormous loss of a family and community member. We send our thoughts and strength to them.

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