SRHRL Past Projects: Science and Technology for Human Rights in Colombia

In partnership with Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN), AAAS supported collaboration between scientific and technical experts and advocates for the rights of Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities in Colombia.

About the Project

PCN is a network of 120 organizations committed to the defense of the rights of the multicultural and pluriethnic communities of Colombia. The project, undertaken by PCN and AAAS, aimed to strengthen the work of advocates for the rights of Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities of the Northern region of the department of Cauca, the city-port of Buenaventura and the southern region of the department of Valle in Colombia. Human rights defenders in this region are actively engaged in on-going research, monitoring, documentation and advocacy addressing a range of ecological, cultural, social and political concerns. They have identified a great need for technical input on these issues. Of particular significance in Colombia is the problem of displacement. Over five million Colombians have been displaced. These high levels of displacement are driven by expanding industrial projects looking to exploit the rich resources of the environment. The impacts of these industries also raise urgent concerns for the communities’ environmental and health rights.

The assistance of scientists and engineers has the potential to make a significant impact on human rights. With the support of scientific and technological methods, human rights defenders will be better placed to advocate for change and prevent human rights abuses because they will be able to collect rigorous scientific evidence that is more difficult for opponents to undermine or negate. Over the course of the pilot initiative, AAAS and PCN held a technical workshop for training and team-building. They are continuing to support individual project development implementation and evaluation.