Josefina Klinger Zúñiga

Josefina Klinger

Josefina Klinger Zúñiga is a courageous Afro-Colombian human rights and environmental defender from Nuquí, Chocó, a rural municipality in western Colombia with a majority Afro-Colombian and Indigenous population. She has dedicated her life working in a country that can be dangerous for human rights and environmental defenders, where more than 80 percent of deaths in Colombia are linked to the economic exploitation of land and natural resources, including illegal mining, deforestation, and the drug trade. Ms. Klinger Zúñiga founded Mano Cambiada (“Changed Hand”) in 2006 to promote sustainable eco-tourism in Chocó and empower the local community in the historically conflict-affected region along the Pacific coast. Her dedication to fighting environmental threats to economic rural stability is rooted in her inspiration to defend the dignity and rights of marginalized communities, break down barriers to promote positive change and empower the Afro-Colombian and Indigenous population, and teach a new generation of leaders how to manage environmental resources and cultural assets to produce sustainable incomes and keep them away from illegal armed groups and narcotrafficking organizations.

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