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Remembering Kimy Pernia Domico and his fight for Indigenous rights and water justice

Kimy Pernia Domico was an Indigenous Embera Katio water justice activist in Colombia who was disappeared on June 2, 2001.

At the time of his disappearance, the Council of Canadians issued a media release that expressed deep concern for his well being.

It also noted, “Pernia has been invited as a guest of the Council of Canadians to speak at the international conference, ‘Water for People and Nature’ being held in Vancouver July 5-8th. Prior to the conference, he is scheduled to undertake a cross-Canada tour to talk about water and human rights.”

At that conference, Maude Barlow said, “The disappearance of Kimy highlights the pressure on the developing world, on the poor and on First Nations to hand over their water resources for private benefit, no matter the cost. We are here in Canada with delegates from over 30 countries to push back, to protect the world’s water from the corporate forces that want to profit from it, and today we’re doing this in Kimy’s name.”

Sadly, in January 2007 paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso admitted to participating in the disappearance and killing of Kimy.

Kimy opposed the Urra hydroelectric dam on the Sinú River, a project that flooded crops and sacred sites in his people’s territory. He visited Canada on a number of occasions to testify about the devastation caused by this dam, which was partially financed by Canadian tax dollars through Export Development Canada.

In April 2001, just weeks before his disappearance, he was in Quebec City during the time of the Summit of the Americas to speak against the Urra dam and its devastating impacts on the way of life of the Embera Katio peoples.

One way to remember Kimy’s struggle is to work to stop Canadian tax dollars from being used for projects like the Urra dam.

Kimy’s struggle for water justice and Indigenous rights will not be forgotten and informs our ongoing work to this day.