On 14 August 2019, ABColombia signed another joint open letter written by London Mining Network. This letter is following up on the serious environmental damage that has occurred from the diversion of the Bruno Stream for use by the Cerrejon mine, and the impact it has had on local communities.
We are a group of organisations from the United States and various European countries. For many years we have been working with the communities affected by the Cerrejón coal mine in La Guajira, Colombia. This mine is owned equally by Anglo American, BHP and Glencore, all companies that are registered on the London Stock Exchange. Which is why we are interested in any negative impacts these companies are responsible for in other countries. In this case, we are following up on the serious environmental damage and the harm caused to the Wayuu and Afro-Colombian communities who have inhabited these ancestral lands, caused by the diversion of the Bruno stream and its plans for mining exploitation in the future.
We are aware of the result of the Constitutional Court ruling, SU-698 of 2017, obtained as a result of a tutela (a legal action presented to the Constitutional Court by citizens when their fundamental rights are threatened) filed by members of the Wayuu communities of La Gran Parada and Paradero. This ruling of the court requires the broad participation of the communities and an independent technical at an interinstitutional committee. We understand that the mandate of this committee has not been fulfilled even after the Public Audience, which consisted of six Colombian Members of Congress, that took place in Riohacha on Tuesday 9 July of this year, where some of us had the opportunity to participate and demonstrate the need for Colombian State entities to take concrete actions in order to comply with the sentence. We understand that, to date, the communities are still claiming their rights to effective participation in this Committee. Therefore, taking this into consideration, via the Collective of Lawyers of José Alvear Restrepo, a group of Wayuu and Afro-Colombian women from the affected communities have decided to petition you as, institutions responsible for legal oversight of State actions, for a meeting to discuss and resolve this issue.
From the international perspective, the effective participation of the communities in the decision-making process about the future of their territories is immensely important, as well as it being a fundamental right protected by International Law. We therefore respectfully ask you to meet with them, and to listen and come to an agreement concerning the next steps. In order to ensure that the participatory process is respected and successfully carried out. In the past, we have offered our support acting as international observers at the table, and we repeat this offer for the planned meeting on the 29 August of this year, where a group of us are willing to participate virtually.
Richard Solly (London Mining Network)
- Stephan Suhner, Grupo de Trabajo Suiza Colombia ask!, Switzerland
- Emma Banks, USA
- Louise Winstanley, ABColombia (British and Irish Agencies in Colombia: CAFOD, SCIAF, Oxfam, Christian Aid, Trócaire)
- Clodagh Daly, Stop Blood Coal, Ireland
- Karry Sanchez, Leigh Day, UK
- Sebastian Rötters, Urgewald, Germany
- Diana Salazar, Colombia Solidarity Campaign UK
- Sebastian Ordóñez, War on Want, UK
- ABColombia, International organisations reject violent attacks and threats against Afro-Colombian and Indigenous leaders
- ABColombia, Water Scarcity and Climate Change in La Guajira: ABColombia signs letter to Cerrejón
- ABColombia, Threats against Indigenous Human Rights Defenders in La Guajira, Colombia