TAKE ACTION: Glencore’s Mining Practices in Peru and Colombia – what can UK citizens do?

Please write to your MP and ask them to #SignEDM136!

You can find a template letter/email here.  

MPs have public contact details so that you, as their constituents, can get in touch. To see who your MP is, go to https://www.theyworkforyou.com and enter your postcode. 

You can then copy and paste the letter we have drafted into email format, amending as you would like, asking your MP to sign EDM #136.  

Once you have emailed your MP, make sure you verify the link sent to your email address. We would be grateful if you could let us know once you have written to your MP by email: abcolombia@abcolombia.org.uk, so that we can monitor which MPs are more responsive. 

We invite you to spread the word on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #SignEDM136.

Thank you in advance! 

You will find a standard letter here to send to your MP

Why is this important?

Early Day Motion (EDM) 136 outlines the human and environmental abuses and concerns of Indigenous communities in Colombia and Peru. We, as UK citizens, have an obligation and a responsibility to these communities as Glencore is registered on the London Stock Exchange, and as such receives UK funding for its operations.

An EDM is a statement made by parliamentarians and tabled in the parliament for all to see. Any MP that is in agreement with this can sign the EDM. For more information on this please see here

Glencore’s business model continues to have severe consequences for local communities and the environment. Several scandals have provided evidence of Glencore’s involvement in human rights violations, corruption, tax avoidance and environmental destruction.

Numerous research studies, technical reports, documentaries and public accusations have exposed the violation of the human rights of the Wayuu and Afro-descendant communities in La Guajira, Colombia. Many of these violations are linked to the mining activities of the company Carbones del Cerrejón Limited, which is owned by Glencore. Carbones del Cerrejón operates Latin America’s largest open-pit coal mine and has been the subject of multiple court rulings by different judicial bodies, including the Colombian High Courts, and of declarations made by the United Nations, European parliamentarians and international organisations.

In 2020, Cerrejón’s activities were denounced by seven UN Special Rapporteurs. David Boyd stated, ‘the situation that was brought to my attention recently regarding the Cerrejón mine and the Wayúu indigenous people is one of the most disturbing situations that I have learned about in my two and half years as [UN] Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment.

Concerns about Glencore’s operations are outlined in EDM 136 Glencore’s Mining Activities in Colombia and Peru.

Glencore has sought to undermine the law in a variety of ways with recent convictions for corruption in various African and Latin American countries, to failing to implement laws and High Court rulings in Colombia and Peru. This demonstrates Glencore’s lack of willingness to protect indigenous rights, the environment and access to water and comply with the law.

Disproportionate investor protections included in international trading and investment agreements have been shown to have a “regulatory chill” on policy changes to protect human rights and to address climate change. International investor protections, like the investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS) mechanism generally place enforceable obligations only on states, meaning that investors can win cases even if they have violated domestic law or other international norms. The awards are disproportionate, amounting to millions of dollars, all carried out in secret tribunals. Many European governments have pulled out of the Energy Charter because of the risk of being sued for climate policy changes under ISDS. We are asking the UK to bilaterally end the Colombia-UK Bilateral Investment Agreement and support a new UK law on Business Human Rights and the Environment in order to protect communities harmed by mining linked to UK companies and their supply chains. Baroness Lola Young tabled this as a Private Members Bill on 28 November 2023.