War on Want

Founded in 1951, War on Want fights the root causes of poverty, inequality and injustice as part of the worldwide movement for global justice. They develop long-term partnerships with communities, social movements and grassroots organisations that act as agents of change in line with core values of social justice, human rights and equality. War on Want’s expertise is backed up by first and second hand research[1] developed jointly with partner organisations and academics across the globe.

War on Want is widely recognised for its hard hitting campaigns to call for structural changes.

The organisation has been working with communities, grassroots organisations and trade unions in Colombia over the past three decades. They have supported communities in some of the most vulnerable and neglected areas in the Pacific region of the country, to defend their territory and resources. War on Want has also carried out research on the role of resource extraction by British and multinational companies to support organisations’ and communities’ campaigns, as well as to call the UK government to regulate UK registered companies.  Their work is at the forefront of promoting and defending human right defenders who continue to face death threats, for example, a recent call on the Colombian government by thousands of their supporters to defend the life of Alfamir Castillo.

[1] Fanning the Flames: The role of British mining companies in conflict and the violation of human rights,  War on Want, 2007 and Fuelling the fear: the human cost of biofuels in Colombia, War on Want, 2008

Association to Provide Capacity and Legal support to Communities (COSPACC) (Social Corporation for Advice and Community Training)

COSPACC is a grass-roots organisation set up in 2002, to defend its members against systematic human rights violations in the region of Casanare and as a direct result of the murders of members of the former  campesino (small-scale farmers) movement. The organisation has been supporting victims of the internal armed conflict with a view towards rebuilding the social fabric of communities  through workshops and-social support. It believes in participation and  ownership of legal process by the communities, so they are not disempowered by a remote legal process.. It includes members who themselves have been kidnapped or lost close family members. They have been followed and harassed repeatedly. It considers of the  multinational companies have a moral and legal responsibility to engage in rebuilding the community.

COSPACC works on documenting and reporting human rights violations and provides legal, and  other support and accompaniment to victims. COSPACC works with internally displaced people, political prisoners, families of the disappeared, families of victims of extrajudicial executions, youth movements and women. COSPACC has done extensive research on the impacts of BP’s oil extraction practices in Casanare and the effects of these practices on the environment and human rights in the region. COSPACC have formed long-term partnerships with organisations such International Peace Brigades to carry out this work. One of many NGOs violently displaced from Casanare, COSPACC is currently based in Bogota and runs outreach sessions travelling to Casanare.

Deighton Pierce Glynn (DPG)

DPG use the law to enforce the rights of the disadvantaged of society, hold the state to account for its actions, challenge discrimination and fight human rights and environmental abuses.

The firm has supported the struggle for Human Rights in Colombia since 2008, when Sue Willman, a partner at the firm, joined an international delegation of lawyers Colombia Caravana UK lawyers group.   They visited Colombia at the request of local human rights defenders and lawyers who faced daily threats and attacks just for doing their job.

DPG has worked with the London Mining Network to support the struggle of indigenous Afro-Colombian communities whose human and environmental rights have been affected by Carrejon one of the world’s largest open casr coal mines, run jointly by British companies Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Swiss Interest Glencore X-Strata

In 2012 the firm began working with Colombian trade unionist Gilberto Torres and firm filed his case GT v BPXC in the High Court claiming compensation for his imprisonment, kidnapping and torture. To date DPG have worked for no payment on Gilberto’s case under a no win no fee agreement.