Placing Blame Where Blame is Due: The Culpability of Illegal Armed Groups and Narcotraffickers in Colombia’s Environmental and Human Rights Catastrophes
William & Mary Environmental Law & Policy Review, Vol. 29, p. 1, 2004
Posted: 12 Apr 2011
Date Written: 2004
Environmental devastation of man-made origin threaten some of the most sensitive regions of Colombia, where the biodiversity found there is among the most unique in the world. Deforestation due to the cultivation and processing of coca and opium, the collateral damage to the environment from drug interdiction and eradication programs, and the slash and burn agriculture practiced by farmers involved in drug production and displaced indigenous groups forced out of their homelands by drug traffickers have had a drastic impact on Colombia’s precious national resources. The spillover effect of drug trafficking has also impacted sensitive environments in neighboring states, as well. For too long, the illegal armed groups and narcotraffickers causing the environmental devastation have gone without being held accountable for their damaging practices, and the inability of the Colombian government to confront drug-related environmental damage has resulted in increased stress on Colombia biodiversity and indigenous territories. This article examines the impact of drug cultivation and processing on the Colombian environment, the laws and enforcement capacity of the nation to fight it, and looks at how the nation and the international community can curtail the loss of more of Colombia’s natural treasures.
Keywords: illegal armed groups, narcotraffickers, drug traffickers, biodiversity, environmental catastrophe, human rights, deforestation, coca, opium, slash and burn, interdiction, eradication, indigenous people
JEL Classification: K10, K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation