Colombian victims call Nuon to account

April 29, 2016

Nuon and other energy companies are as yet unwilling to call a temporary import ban on blood coal. That is the disappointing outcome of the visit by Colombian Maira Méndez Barboza (30) to the head office of the Nuon energy company.

Maira told representatives of the three Dutch energy companies her personal story about the murder of her father by paramilitaries. She asked them to increase pressure on the Colombian mining companies Drummond and Prodeco/Glencore to take concrete steps towards acknowledging and compensating the victims of paramilitary violence.

Maira’s fight for acknowledgement and compensation started 15 years ago, when her father, employed at the Drummond mining company and a trade union member, was shot to death by paramilitaries in front of her mother, brother and herself.

Her story symbolises 3100 deaths and 55,000 displaced persons caused by paramilitary violence in the Colombian mining region of Cesar. Victims and survivors have never received any acknowledgement or compensation for the suffering inflicted upon them. Maira stressed in the meeting with Nuon that past violence is continuously creating new victims in the region. Families are destabilised, people become ill and some residents are still being threatened.  

Switch to more responsible energy company
PAX, which represents the victims, feels that European energy companies should stop the purchase of coal from the Drummond and Prodeco/Glencore mining companies until these companies have taken steps towards compensating the victims of blood coal. Despite years of dialogue, these companies have not taking any action in that direction. By not attaching consequences to the lack of results, irresponsible behaviour is being rewarded. If the energy companies maintain this half-hearted attitude, PAX will initiate a public campaign in mid-May aimed at requesting consumers to switch to a more responsible energy company.

 Danish energy company sets the right example
Dong, a Danish energy company, announced its intention to stop purchasing coal from Prodeco last week. Dong wants Prodeco to operate in a more responsible manner. Compensating victims of blood coal is one of the measures demanded. It is now up to Nuon and the other energy companies that purchase blood coal to follow this example. Other Dutch purchasers are Engie (formerly Electrabel), E.ON and Essent.

European tour
Maira is visiting seven European countries with energy companies that import blood coal. She will be addressing shareholders’ meetings and talking to members of parliament and the press.

Get involved with our peace work.
Subscribe to the PAX Action Alert.