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UPDATE: Remembering water justice activist Kimy Pernia Domico

Kimy Pernia Domico

Kimy Pernia Domico

Kimy Pernia Domico was a Colombian water justice activist. As noted by Kairos, “He led his people in a peaceful protest against the Urra hydroelectric dam, a project that flooded his community crops and sacred sites. He visited Canada on a number of occasions to testify about the devastation caused by this dam, which was partially financed by our tax dollars through Export Development Canada.” In April 2001, Pernia spoke at the People’s Summit in Quebec City against the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

On June 4, 2001, the Council of Canadians issued a media release that, “expressed deep concern for the well being of Kimy Pernia Domico.” That statement noted, “On Friday, June 2 at 6:20 pm Mr. Pernia was forced on to a motorcycle at gunpoint by unidentified men, and driven out of town. 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 the water conference – now dedicated to Kimy – in July 2001, Council of Canadians chairperson 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.

This Thursday June 2 marks the tenth anniversary of the disappearance of Kimy. The Jenzera Collective (a Colombian organization that Kimy helped form) will commemorate his life by lighting candles. In Toronto, between 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm that day, candles will be lit in the public space outside the Colombian consulate on the south side of Dundas Street between Yonge and Bay. You can get more information about this as well as confirm your participation in this gathering at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=218100934876199.

If you are unable to attend the Toronto gathering, you are encouraged to: 1) hold a candlelight vigil and send a photo of this to bilito@horizons.ca so that it can be shared with Kimy’s family and community; 2) sign an online petition prepared by Amnesty International to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos calling for justice for Kimy and protection for the Embera and other Indigenous Peoples threatened with extinction, http://www.amnesty.ca/atrisk/index.php/kimy-pernia/; 3) hold a screening of the 10-minute video Our River, Our Life: The Struggle of the Embera Katio of Colombia, which was filmed with Kimy in Colombia and shows the impact of the dam on the lives of the Embera people, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50gD3G6ZRq4; 4) Use the art work commissioned by Amnesty International and posted at http://www.amnesty.ca/atrisk/pdf/kimy.pdf to create signs or banner for display in offices, schools or other public spaces. Take a photo holding the sign/ banner and send it to kprice@amnesty.ca. The photos will be shared with Colombian partners and used for political pressure in Canada.