The controversial American coal company Drummond was the main guest at a meeting organised yesterday by the Dutch Foreign Office concerning abuses in the Columbian coal sector. Drummond is being taken to task about serious breaches of human rights in relation to their coal mines in the north east of Colombia. During the meeting, it transpired once again that Drummond is not planning to start a credible process in relation to compensating victims.
A large part of this 'blood coal’ is processed in the Netherlands by coal-fired power stations run by the energy giants Nuon, E-On and Essent. Marianne Moor (PAX): “Once again, it would seem that Drummond is not willing to take any steps towards compensating victims and we thus expect the Dutch government to take a very critical position vis a vis this company which is even frustrating efforts to obtain victim compensation in Colombia itself. This attitude does not fit into the open and constructive dialogue envisaged by Minister Ploumen for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and which, in our opinion, must lead to victims being able to obtain legal redress.
Death and Destruction
Prior to the meeting, fifteen Columbian victim and union organisations sent a letter to The Foreign Office detailing their concerns. They referred to the mass murder, enforced land clearance and death threats to union leaders and victim representatives that have taken place in the vicinity of the Drummond mines. Drummond is also suspected of working with and financing paramilitaries, which have spread death and destruction throughout the mining area. This resulted in thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of displaced individuals in the period 1996-2006. Even today, threats are being made to people such as union leader Ruben Morrón, who last year only just survived an attempt on his life and had to flee to Europe.
Moor: “Victims expect a clear signal from the Dutch government to both Drummond and the Dutch energy companies. Trading interests are significant but should not be at the expense of the rights of the victims." Both states and businesses are obliged to take effective measures to compensate victims for breaches of human rights.
Read also the Spanish press statement: Drummond no da su brazo a torcer
Watch the video The Legacy of Drummond in ColombiaDealing with the Past, Natural Resources, Conflict & Human Rights, Colombia