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Ángela Cristina Cuenca Sempertegui

Colectivo Casa
Defending the rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia Article

In Bolivia, Mother Earth is considered a living being with rights by the indigenous communities. This ancestral vision has allowed indigenous families to pass on fertile lands, a home and a future from generation to generation, but this way of living has been forcefully changed by the extractives industry. Now the mining concessions that the current government of Bolivia has given to foreign companies are destroying the lands that once had been sacred to these communities.  


Ángela Cristina Cuenca Sempertegui is a founding member of Colectivo Casa (Colectivo de Coordinación de Acciones Socio-Ambientales - Coordination Collective of Socio-Environmental Actions), a non-profit organisation located in the Department of Oruro, Bolivia.

Colectivo Casa works to strenthen social movements in defense of environmental justice and women's rights through capacity building, advocacy, research and awareness raising on political ecology and the management of socio-environmental conflicts. The collective supports local communities and social organizations to denounce and transform socio-environmental conflicts (derived to pollution and access to natural resources) by articulating alliances and generating spaces for reflection and collective action. They are a key partner of RENAMAT (the National Network of Women in Defense of Mother Earth), an organisation of indigenous, native, peasant and fisher women affected by mining and environmental violence against women, and have an active role in regional networks such as Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina (OCMAL), Comisión para la Gestión Integral del Agua en Bolivia (CGIAB)  and Observatorio Boliviano de Conflictos Mineros (OBCOM).


In Bolivia, some issues concerning human rights defenders have been particularly worrisome in recent years, such as the harassment of defenders working with indigenous and campesino communities, notably the case of the conflict between indigenous groups and coca-growers in the Indigenous Territory of the Isiboro Sécure National Park (TIPNIS). International organisations, such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, condemn the violence against the targeted HRDs in that context.