Colombia: 18 years later, Tabaco community still seeks justice over displacement by Cerrejon coal project

An article raising concerns over the lack of justice after 18 years in the case of a forced eviction of Afro Colombian residents in the township of Tabaco, La Guajira, points at Cerrejon coal co. (part of Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore).  The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Cerrejon to respond to the allegations.  The response is provided.




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Company response
27 August 2019

Cerrejon response

Author: Cerrejon coal

Bogotá, 27 August 2019


We want to thank the Business and Human Rights Resource Center (BHRRC) for allowing us to comment on the concerns expressed by the British NGO London Mining Network in their August 9 article entitled Tabaco, Colombia: still no justice after 18 years. We acknowledge LMN ́s role in contributing to the wellbeing of local communities and helping to ensure that their rights are respected. We share their concern, as well as that of the community, of recovering their social cohesion by finally living as a community. We maintain permanent engagement with the Tabaco community and we are committed to complying with our responsibilities, many of them already fulfilled, and make efforts so other parties, local authorities, comply with their own, as defined by the 2002 ruling from the Supreme Court of Justice and

the 2008 agreements between the community, the local municipality and Cerrejón...

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11 August 2019

“Tabaco, Colombia: still no justice after 18 years”

Author: London Mining Network

9 August 2019

…On 9 August 2001 the Afro-Descendant community of Tabaco was forcibly displaced from their ancestral land to give way to the biggest open cast coal mine in Latin America: Cerrejon. The mine is currently owned by Anglo American, BHP and Glencore, three multinational mining companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, with very high profits…Members of the Colombia Solidarity Campaign, London Mining Network, War on Want and many others in more recent years, have been witness to the suffering and losses caused to the people of Tabaco and the environment during all these years…Today, after those 18 years, [according to them, the community] is still not relocated. [Their] rights have been transformed by the Cerrejon Company and the Colombian State into mere promises, and sometimes into privileges that are offered to a few in exchange for silence and misleading the community…Extractivism takes over the territories of the communities. It imposes a war against those living a peasant lifestyle, to subsistence and autonomy. The damages that it creates to human and non-human communities are irreparable…In addition, [their] struggle for [their] rights, [their] complaints and [their] desire that this kind of thing will never happen again to any other community, has also been criminalised, stigmatised and threatened…

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