BNP Paribas has suspended its investments in the mining company Drummond. The French banking concern stopped providing financing to Drummond back in 2014, but the suspension has only now been made public thanks to an investigation by the international financial network BankTrack. BNP Paribas indicated it halted its investments in part due to Drummond’s human rights violations.
Drummond is one of a number of mining companies active in César, a region in Colombia where 3,100 people were killed and 55,000 were driven from their homes due to paramilitary violence over a ten-year period starting in 1996. Both paramilitary soldiers and witnesses to the violence have declared under oath that Drummond provided the paramilitaries César with financial support and strategic information.
Human rights violations and environmental damage
The BankTrack researchers asked all of Drummond’s institutional financial backers what their policies are regarding allegations of human rights violations by the companies they finance. BNP Paribas told BankTrack that the bank suspended its financing of Drummond due to human rights violations and the environmental damage caused by the company. Another investor, the US bank Citibank, also posed critical questions concerning the role Drummond played in the region, according to the BankTrack investigation. Five other banks which also finance Drummond (Bank of America, HBSC, Mizuho Financial and Wells Fargo) declined to answer questions pertaining to one of their clients.
The BankTrack investigation is based on international standards for responsible business conduct set out in the ‘UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights’. These guidelines stipulate that banks and companies are responsible for preventing human rights violations as well as addressing the consequences of such violations. In addition, they must publically report how they handle such abuses. BackTrack calls on banks to use their financial leverage to ensure that companies take concrete steps toward providing justice and compensation for the victims and surviving relatives of human rights violations involving coal mining in César, Colombia.
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