MICI condemns the situations of reprisals reported to the Mechanism

A complex context, aggravated during the pandemic

El MICI condena las situaciones de represalias

According to the allegations received by MICI, the pandemic increased the risk of reprisals and the isolation of potential victims, while reducing the support resources available. Some of these situations reported to MICI take place in sociopolitical contexts of high conflict, especially in areas that have historically had a significant presence of armed groups that operate outside the law and with high levels of violence. For example, the communities articulated in Colombia's Movimiento Ríos Vivos, which filed a complaint currently under investigation by the Compliance Review Phase, are denouncing reprisals in the form of threats. In other cases, reprisals take less aggressive forms, such as smear campaigns or stigmatization of groups opposed to a project.

As the Mechanism noted in a recent knowledge note, in many Latin American countries, situations of reprisals are favored by extreme social polarization and high levels of violence. According to the latest report by Global Witness, the region continues to accumulate 72% of the murders of environmental defenders on the planet, with a growth of almost 7% in 2020. 

Working side by side

In accordance with its own Guidelines, the Mechanism has worked since 2020 on the development of Risk of Reprisals Assessments (RRA) and Joint Plans to Reduce Risk of Reprisals (JPRR) on more than a dozen complaints. Given that MICI has neither the mandate nor the effective capacity to protect the safety of individuals, it has worked in coordination with potential victims, local entities, and international organizations to reduce and address the identified risk factors. 

In recent months, MICI has received allegations about situations of threats and reprisals denounced by different complainant communities and the civil society organizations (CSOs) that accompany them. MICI condemns each of these episodes and recalls that both the Mechanism and the IDB Group have a zero-tolerance policy for any form of reprisals against requesters, their families, or people close to them.