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The OXY-U'Wa Case: Colombia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: MacDonald, Theodore
Conference: Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Conf. Date: June 10-14
Date: 1998
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1620
Sector: Social Organization
Region: South America
Subject(s): IASC
indigenous institutions
conflict resolution
collective action
Abstract: "In April 1995, the Colombian newspaper El Nuevo Siglo reported that U'wa Indians were threatening to commit mass suicide. They would do so, some leaders said, if the oil company Occidental de Colombia (OXY) carried through with its plans for oil exploration in the Samore Block, which included U'wa lands... National and international interest in and support for the U'wa situation grew exponentially... "This complex array of interests and actors, however, led largely to increasing levels of acrimonious public debate and produced an impasse among the principal stakeholders. Given the importance of the case, insofar as it affected the rights of indigenous people as well as the national economy, and in view of the difficulties encountered in holding productive discussions among the parties involved, the Ministry of Foreign Relations deemed it necessary to seek outside help in finding options and making recommendations to resolve the conflict. This paper reviews that process and, in doing so, suggests that a focus on common property rights can serve as a means to approach the management of broader, more complex conflicts, in Colombian and similar areas."

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