Drummond ends dialogue with Vattenfall on human rights

Image: Dagmijnbouw in Colombia

January 30, 2019

Mining multinational Drummond has ended the dialogue with European Energy giant Vattenfall, because they disagree with Vattenfall’s human rights approach.

This news was made public in Vattenfall’s update on their Human Rights Risk Assessment in Colombia. As a consequence Vattenfall has removed Drummond from their list of approved direct suppliers.

PAX considers the Swedish energy company to be a frontrunner in addressing the human rights violations in their coal supply chain. Vattenfall was the first company to demand from their coal suppliers that they start a reconciliation dialogue with victims of the grave human rights violations that occurred in the Colombian mining region of Cesar during the period of 1996-2006. Recently three other major energy companies RWE, ENGIE and Uniper joined Vattenfall in their call for a dialogue with victims.

PAX Campaign leader Wouter Kolk: “A dialogue about the violent past of the coal mining region is the only constructive way forward. Therefore it is very disappointing that Drummond is not even willing to discuss human rights legacies with energy companies that want to see it addressed, let alone the victims for whom this is crucial.”

Frontrunner Prodeco

A year and a half ago, victims have invited mining companies to start a dialogue aimed at truth finding and reparations. In the recent progress report of the Dutch Coal Covenant energy companies make clear they expect their coal suppliers Drummond and Prodeco to start such a process with victims of human rights violations in the past. Whereas Drummond is not willing to have a such dialogue on human rights, Vattenfall’s update paints a far more positive picture of Drummond’s main competitor Prodeco:

“Prodeco is taking on an active stance on one of our main recommendations. The company contributes actively to historical truth finding by engaging with victim communities and highlighting the importance of reconciliation”.

Reconciliation within reach

Because of these positive developments victims have hope that – after many years of struggling for recognition, truth-finding and reparations – a healing process is now within reach. Success however still depends on further actions and the start of an actual effective reconciliation dialogue. Another key question is whether, besides Vattenfall, other energy companies will reward those coal suppliers that are taking these steps and, consequently, suspend their business relationships with suppliers that are not. In line with international standards on business and human rights that would be the only sensible and effective strategy to address grave human rights impacts.

Wouter Kolk: “Both mining companies and energy companies face a clear question. Do they remain part of the problem and accept the consequences of that, or do they join a growing coalition that seeks an effective solution that addresses the serious human rights impact and contributes to sustainable peace. We hope all companies will move in that direction.”

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