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Colombia: 13 NGOs express support for Afro-descendant community alleging loss of land, livelihood & access to water caused by Cerrejon Coal

After years of conflicts over their right to land/territory, Afro Colombian communities of Roche that had been displaced by Cerrejon [joint venture Anglo American, BHP Billiton & Glencore] decided to enter peacefully an area of the company to press for a solution to their problems of access to water and unsuccessful productive projects.  Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Cerrejón to respond. The response is available below,

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18 January 2019

“Declaration in support of the community of Roche, La Guajira, Colombia”

Author: The Democracy Center, Indepaz and 12 other international organizations

January 18, 2019

We, the undersigned, offer our solidarity to members of the community of Roche in La Guajira, Colombia, who have taken direct action to protest at their conditions after being forced off their ancestral land because of the expansion of Latin America’s largest open-cast coal mine, Cerrejón, owned by three of the world’s largest mining multinationals, Anglo American, BHP and Glencore – all listed on the London Stock Exchange…On Wednesday, 16 January 2019, around 50 community members entered a part of the 69,000 hectare mining lease and halted operations. The occupation was entirely non-violent. They demanded that the company actually address their demands rather than simply discussing them. They accuse the company of failing to keep the agreements it has made over, among other things, water quality in the new settlement, the repair of inadequately built houses and the provision of ways of making a living.

Read the full post here

Company response
29 January 2019

Response by Cerrejon coal

Author: Cerrejon Coal

...Cerrejon has participated in the resettlement process with Roche, and with the other communities, in a constructive spirit and in good faith, but in spite of its complexity we do not share the opinion that this process has failed...We admit that these processes are difficult...The families in Roche received compensations and indemnifications that included providing land, according to the varied effects of each family, on which they have the possibilities to continue their farming activities...We know some of the programs have had problems, mainly with access to water...

Download the full document here