Drummond under criminal investigation

Image: Een kolenmijn in Cesar, Colombia. Foto © PAX

September 2, 2016

The Attorney General is investigating companies which have allegedly financed and/or collaborated with paramilitaries in Colombia. According to a list that has been circulating in the Colombian media, Drummond is amongst those companies.

Publication of the list has fired up the debate on the prosecution of companies for large-scale violations of human rights during the Colombian civil war. President Santos appears to be holding firm. Executives of companies that have systematically and significantly contributed to the conflict will be prosecuted under the special peace process. Joris van de Sandt (programme leader for Colombia): “It is encouraging that Colombia is now taking serious steps towards calling to account all those parties who have contributed to the conflict.”
Call to account
PAX is dedicated towards helping victims in the Cesar mining region in Colombia, where in 1996-2006, paramilitaries killed a total of 3,100 people and drove 55,000 farmers from their land. According to ex-paramilitaries involved and witnesses, the Drummond and Glencore/Prodeco mining companies cooperated with the paramilitaries by giving not only strategic information, but also financial and material support. While both companies deny the allegations, the victims of violence and their descendants are still waiting for recognition and compensation. Van de Sandt: “Now that executives of companies like Drummond and Glencore/Prodeco can be called to account under the peace process, victims may finally attain the justice and reparation that they have long been entitled to.”
New witness statements
The release of the list with 57 companies practically coincides with the publication of a government report (‘La Maldita Tierra’) on the emergence and economic drivers of paramilitary violence in the Cesar mining region. The report includes three new witness statements by paramilitary leaders on the alleged cooperation between Drummond and Prodeco/Glencore mining companies and the paramilitaries, which according to the witnesses, involved various meetings, the exchange of strategic information and payments. Joris van de Sandt: “The report confirms the image already sketched by PAX in the report ‘The Dark Side of Coal’. We hope that this is the next step towards reconciliation and reparation in Cesar.”

(Edited 15 September 2016)

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