German energy concern Uniper has a unique opportunity to contribute to a solution for the victims of blood coal in the Cesar mining region in Colombia.
This is what PAX will tell shareholders today during Uniper´s annual meeting in Essen, Germany. PAX campaigner Wouter Kolk says, “Uniper can lead the way by giving a clear signal to their Colombian coal suppliers: start a reconciliation dialogue with human rights victims.”
Uniper is one of the European energy concerns which import coal from Colombia to run their power stations. The region in Colombia where Uniper gets its coal has for years suffered from paramilitary violence. From 1996 to 2006, at least 3100 people were murdered and 55,000 farmers were driven from their land. More recently, according to an investigation by PAX, murders and threats of violence have been on the increase.
While victims in the Cesar department are still waiting for recognition and compensation, there have been some positive developments in the past year. One of the mining companies, the Swiss Prodeco/Glencore, attended a ceremony commemorating the murder of residents in a village in the mining region.
In addition, Uniper’s competitor Vattenfall conducted its own research into the human rights situation in the mining region of Cesar and is requiring that its suppliers initiate direct dialogue with the victims of human rights abuses over the years. The mining concerns now need to take concrete steps to make this happen. The Dutch government has also taken a positive step. Spurred on by parliament, the Netherlands is calling on other energy concerns to follow Vattenfall´s good example.
What will Uniper do?
The ball is now in the court of energy companies such as Uniper. PAX´s Wouter Kolk: “The question is whether Uniper has the courage to undertake meaningful measures and join the forerunners in the European energy sector who are doing something about blood coal.”
In depth: Stop Blood CoalNatural Resources, Conflict & Human Rights, Colombia