Colombia ready to address bloodcoal victims

Image: Mining area in the Colombia Cesar region.

November 6, 2017

The Colombian Minister of Mining, the President´s Human Rights Advisor and the CEO’s of the biggest mining companies in Colombia recently visited the Netherlands with a large delegation.

Minister Germán Arce Zapata was here to discuss the peace process and the role of the coal mining sector, acknowledging that it is time to move from statements to actions when it comes to remedy of victims of past human rights violations.

The Colombian government organized a conference in the Netherlands about the peace process, development and the role of the coal mining sector and invited all the stakeholders in the coal supply chain between Colombia and Europe. It was the first time government representatives, mining companies, energy utilities, port authorities, civil society organizations and trade unions came together to discuss both the human rights impacts in the mining areas and the need to remediate these impacts as part of regional peace-building efforts.

PAX also attended the conference, and held a presentation in which it summarized its research into the link between coal mining and conflict in Cesar, asked the mining companies questions about how they assess their relation to the human rights impact and suggested concrete steps mining companies can take to enter into a remedy & reconciliation process with victims. Both Minister Arce and the President´s Human Rights Advisor Paula Gaviria constructively engaged in the discussion, recognizing that dealing with the past is an essential component of building a sustainable peace. PAX and Minister Arce both complimented Prodeco/Glencore for attending a recent victims commemoration and expressed hope that the path towards reconciliation will be pursued further.

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