Bogotá August 27th, 2010
For public opinion-
Through this release we denounce and seek support for the difficult situation affecting the organized recyclers in the Recyclers Association of
Bogota (ARB) and its leaders as a result of [or “because of”—SC] their attempts to enforce the rights of those excluded from bidding on the Doña
Juana landfill operation, the official final destination for Bogota waste removal.
The organized recycling community has won the right to participate in the public system for getting financial benefit from the city’s waste, thanks to
determined action on the part of its leaders. Through legal measures the community leaders have countered the trend towards privatization of waste
management and the collateral exclusion of the recycling community that has been consolidated through public policy in the region.
This privatization has been denounced widely on the part of the ARB and supportive agencies, in particular in the article “Continuity or
Disenchantment?” (“¿Continuidad o Desembrujo?”) in the series “The Enchantment” (“El Embrujo”), published in 2009 by the Colombian Platform for
Democratic Human Rights and Development (Plataforma Colombiana de Derechos Humanos Democracia y Desarrollo).
Today a new chapter of exclusion is being written by the district administration in charge, the Special Administrative Unit of Public Services
(la Unidad Administrativa Especial de Servicios Públicos, UAEPS). Despite the requirement of the Constitutional Court to include components, criteria,
and mechanisms in bidding on operations of the Bogota landfill in order to ensure sustainable incorporation—and coverage-- of recyclers in the business
of getting financial value from waste, the UAESP has loosely interpreted the law and generated symbolic and derisory modes of inclusion without
mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of said inclusion and without respecting the recycler participation percentages established by the high
court. Worse still, the director of the UAEPS has initiated a campaign to discredit the ARB, its work and its legitimacy as representative of the
recyclers’ guild, claiming that the ARB is comprised of a small group of recyclers seeking to benefit themselves. These accusations have already
triggered aggression and threats against ARB leaders. The UAESP director forgets that the ARB unites 23 recycling organizations that boast 2,300
members making it the second-most important entity representing organized recyclers in the country.
We kindly ask for your support and solidarity in this fight to defend the rights of recyclers and the struggle for real and sustainable inclusion for
the recycling community in future waste management. Finally, we want to warn against the negative effects that the UAESP actions may bring for the
leaders of the recycling community who, as they have demonstrated in past actions, have done nothing other than give voice to the cause defending the
18,000 families in Bogota and 250,000 recyclers nation-wide.
We ask that letters of support be sent to the following email addresses:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
We appreciate your support in this struggle for justice.
Enda A.L., National Coordination Entity of the Colombian Platform for
Democratic Human Rights and Development