Urgent Action: Rural Communities and Environment at Risk (Colombia: UA 42.21)

April 16, 2021

On April 12, 2021, President Ivan Duque signed decree 380 allowing the spraying of glyphosate for the eradication of illicit crops to resume. This policy, which was stopped in 2015 due to its detrimental effect on human rights and the environment, could negatively affect the health and other related rights of hundreds of campesino farming communities and have further environmental impacts in the country. We urge the National Narcotics Council to ensure the immediate suspension of aerial spraying with glyphosate.



  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  2. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 42.21. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.


Minister of Justice and Law
Mr Wilson Ruiz Orejuela
President of the National Narcotics Council
Calle 53 No. 13 – 27, Bogotá, Colombia
Phone: +57 1 2368025
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @WilsonRuizO
Ambassador Francisco Santos
Embassy of Colombia
1724 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202 387 8338
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @ColombiaEmbUSA @PachoSantosC
Facebook: @ColombiaEmbassyUS
Salutation: Dear Ambassador


Dear Mr Wilson Ruiz Orejuela,

I am writing to express concern for the health and safety of thousands of people whose rights are on peril if the Colombian government resumes the eradication of illicit crops through aerial spraying glyphosate. Colombia should ensure that efforts to prevent illicit drug cultivation or eradicate illicit crops do not adversely affect the enjoyment of human rights, including of peasant communities whose livelihoods depend on such crops.

It is widely documented that the use of glyphosate has had a serious impact on the environment and the human rights of thousands of people, such as right to life, health, water, to a healthy and safe environment and to an adequate standard of living.  The force eradication of illegal crops with glyphosate will exacerbate the situation of conflict in the country, leaving rural communities in an even more vulnerable situation.

We urge you to immediately agree on a suspension of aerial spraying with glyphosate, and to refrain from adopting drug policies that harm people. In this sense, I call on you to develop instead policies that address the underlying socio-economic causes that lead people to cultivate these crops and avoid entrenching poverty and deprivation in these communities. The government must provide peasants farmers who depend on such crops with the necessary support to develop economically viable and sustainable alternatives and to realize their right to work and an adequate standard of living. The programs for voluntary substitution, recognized in the Peace Agreement, have proven to be more sustainable and effective for the protection of communities’ human rights.