After almost 30 years of exploiting two large coal mines in northern Colombia, causing serious social and environmental damages to the adjacent communities, the multinational Glencore, through its subsidiary Prodeco, announced this month the closure of its mining operations in Colombia. PAX is worried that Prodeco's decision implies that the mining company will also avoid their responsibility to the victims from the coal mining region.
PAX had considerable hope that mining company Prodeco would engage in a truth and reconciliation dialogue with the victims of forced displacement during the internal armed conflict. Over the past three years, several constructive meetings have been held between company executives and the Asamblea Campesina del Cesar, who represent the victim communities in the coal mining region, in order to build mutual trust and define the topics to be discussed in the dialogue. Prodeco's recent statement to close its operations in Colombia will jeopardize such a dialogue.
Having accompanied the Asamblea Campesina for many years, PAX wrote this open letter to the CEO of Glencore in which we demand the following:
- Prodeco has a the responsibility to address Human Rights legacy, based on international standards such as the OECD guidelines and corporate responsibility guidelines, and as a result, it should enter into the dialogue process with the Asamblea Campesina
- For as long as Prodeco is present in Colombia, the company must speak out against the threats and assassinations of social leaders that reclaim the lands from which they have been displaced, and demand that the government take all necessary measures to protect these people.
- Prodeco must publish the findings of their human rights impact assessment that they commissioned in 2018 and indicate what actions they will take in this regard.