THE WATER REFERENDUM IN COLOMBIA HAS BEEN DENIED

PRESS STATEMENT

THE WATER REFERENDUM IN COLOMBIA HAS BEEN DENIED

Bogotá, May 21, 2010

The Committee of the Referendum for the Right to Water informed the Colombian people, the more than two million people who signed it up, the organizations, members of the Regional Committees and National Committee Defense of Water and Life, international organizations and colleagues, states the following:

1 .- At the meeting on May 18, the House of Representatives began voting on a proposal of Representative Navas Talero, to be decided by the call for a referendum with the original text signed by citizens. This proposition received 70 votes in favor and 13 against. By not reach the qualified majority, in accordance with the law, therefore, the referendum was denied.

2 .- Blamed for the frustration of our referendum, i.e. to prevent the Colombian people decide on the human right to water, against the privatization of water supply and public service for the protection of the water cycle, in the first place Government of President Uribe, who insisted, since the process began last nineteen months, to sink the initiative. This imposed on his party’s majority in Congress, that point of view and that purpose. Secondly, the vast majority of parliamentarians belonging to the pro-Uribe parties, that met the mandates of his submissive head. Thirdly, the economic interests that move in the water business and they acted behind the scenes, but at all times, against the referendum and the popular will.

3 .- We just recognition and respect to the benches of the Polo Democrático Alternativo, the Liberal Party, the Movement MIRA, and the representatives of indigenous and African descent at any time and have resolutely supported and support the citizens’ initiative. Also a few representatives to be sympathetic to the government have dared to act according to their conscience and support it.

4 .- What happened so far shows that the Colombian Congress and the House of Representatives, as institutions, are undemocratic scenario adverse to public participation. In addition to the above, the dereliction of duty, as the most basic of attend meetings and stay in them, was obvious and frequent did. In the current period, the plenary of the House only reached the quorum and decision-making meeting held on 18th of this month. On the last ten previous citations the quorum was not completed or disbanded after approving the agenda. So, parliamentary absenteeism joined the obsequiousness toward government and private and commercial interests around the water to deny the referendum.

5 .- The presenter of the draft call for the referendum on the Fifth Committee of the House and to the plenary of the same, Doctor Bladimiro Cuello, insisted on approval proposed substantial amendments as the Commission had approved. This attitude is contrary to the Constitution and the Act does not allow Congress to make such changes. Further defying the Constitutional Court already said clearly and decisively in the ruling that declared unconstitutional the 1354 Act, 2009, by which it was intended to provide a second re-election of Mr Uribe Vélez.

6 .- By approving the referendum amended, the text is eliminating the human right to water and re-privatization of water supply service, including substantial changes, we would be committing an assault on the popular will expressed in more than two million signatures supporting the referendum. It would be manipulating a citizen initiative, fair and transparent, or at least driving it to an end already announced by the Court: its unconstitutionality. Perhaps with the intention of concealing the refusal to let the people decide and shift responsibility to the Constitutional Court.

7 .- Several opposition Representatives have warned that, perpetrated the previous maneuver, could be failing by those who promote and accompany with their vote in the crime of malfeasance, which should be investigated and punished by the judicial authorities.

8 .- The Promoting Committee will explore legal actions designed to replace the original text in the remainder of the debate, will restore the time lost because of absenteeism from parliament, to respect due process, to ultimately be fulfill the right to participation.

9 .- The Promoting Committee reiterates its willingness to continue fighting for the principles, assumptions and proposals included in the original text of the referendum, resorting to that end the legal avenues and citizen mobilization.

10 .- For purposes of the above reiterates the call of the Ninth National Assembly of the National Committee in Defense of Water and Life for the 4th of June in the Auditorium of SINTRAEMSDES, in the city of Bogotá.

VIVA REFERENDUM TO THE HUMAN RIGHT TO WATER ¡!!!!!

Promoters Committee:

Rafael Colmenares – Vocero del Comité -; Humberto Polo – Sintraemsdes-; Oscar Gutiérrez – Unión Nacional de Usuarios de los Servicios Públicos- ; Tatiana Roa – Censat Amigos de la Tierra -; Javier Márquez – Penca de Sábila-; Héctor Gañán – Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia – Martha Cañón – Avocar-; Rodrigo Acosta – Central Única de Trabajadores; Cristo Miranda – Acueductos Comunitarios- .

~ by Cory Morningstar on May 21, 2010.

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