Colombia: Cerrejon Coal and government entities discount Constitutional Court’s orders for the exploitation of the Arroyo Bruno

After a Roundtable regarding the diversion of one of the last water sources existing in the La Guajira desertic region, the Arroyo Bruno, various groups, including the communities of La Gran Parada, Paradero and La Horqueta, along with CCAJAR Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo, CINEP/PPP Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular/Programa por la Paz and Censat-Agua Viva, stated that Cerrejón Coal (part of Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore) and government entities disregarded the Constitutional Court’s orders and guidelines for the exploitation and diversion of the Arroyo Bruno, and subsequently request from other entities to guarantee the rights of the communities that have been affected. Includes company comments.

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30 July 2019

Comments by Cerrejon

…We believe that some significant inaccuracies or misunderstandings in that letter have distorted your conclusions on the diversion of the Arroyo Bruno…We recognize the importance of the Arroyo Bruno to our surrounding communities and the role it plays in La Guajira’s water system and as a tributary flowing in to the Rio Rancheria. The diversion project, in compliance with law, moved a 3.6 kilometers of the stream’s riverbed 700 meters to the north in order to preserve and protect the Arroyo Bruno from the expansion of our mining operation…The purpose of the Roundtable is to ensure the relevant technical, environmental and community impacts are properly considered in an impartial manner and that Cerrejón cannot unduly or disproportionally influence its conclusions. The Rountable is carrying out a full technical study to evaluate the environmental feasibility of the project and the uncertainties by the plaintiffs in the tutela…Cerrejón respects the rule of law, has complied with its obligations under and in the spirit of the Constitutional Court’s judgement; we have also participated in the Roundtable in an open and transparent manner…

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30 June 2019

“Mining company disregards Colombia’s Constitutional Court to exploit Bruno river”

Author: London Mining Network

… On June 5-6th 2019, the Inter-institutional Roundtable for the Arroyo Bruno [in La Guajira community, Colombia] convened within the framework of the SU-698 Sentence of 2017. In this way, the Constitutional Court safeguards the fundamental rights to water, food security and the health of more than 30 Wayuu communities in La Guajira, which are under threat due to the diversion of the Arroyo Bruno by the company Carbones del Cerrejón…[Various organizations, communities and entities] attended the roundtable meeting, because [they] recognize the importance of what is being decided in this space. [They] publicly and formally expressed [their] disagreement with the proposed agenda and with the imposed dynamics of the meeting, and…[They] also publicly demanded access to the decisions that the roundtable had already made behind closed doors and insisted on guarantees for the attendance and participation of the independent experts that are an integral part of the debate…[They] insisted that the departure point be to discuss the EIGHTH ORDER of the sentence… In response to [their] proposal, representatives of Cerrejón and of state entities, such as the moderator from the Ministry of the Environment…[and] To [their] surprise, from the words of the Ministry of the Environment, [they] learned that upon being notified of the sentence, the previous roundtable had already made a decision regarding the EIGHTH ORDER to maintain the hydraulic barrier that diverts the Bruno…

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17 May 2019

Colombia: Mining company Cerrejón publicly condemns threats against environmental defenders and union members

Author: Cerrejón (Colombia)

“Cerrejón condemns threats against fuerza de mujeres wayuu leaders and sintracarbón’s igor diaz and requests prompt investigations from authorities”, 16th May 2019

In light of recent threats aimed at members of the Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu organization and Igor Díaz, a member of Sintracarbón’s National Board, Cerrejón once again wishes to state that we are horrified by this situation and completely condemn such reprehensible acts. Since the moment in 2016 when the company learned about the first case of threats…against Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu, Cerrejón has repeatedly requested that the authorities take all necessary steps to avoid any act that threatens the life and physical integrity of human rights leaders and environmental defenders in La Guajira. Given the persistence of the threats against members of this organization and their families…the company wants to make clear the urgency of investigating the situation…This is why the company has repeatedly asked the authorities to act promptly in adopting measures to make sure all these people remain safe and to bring to justice those responsible…Cerrejón also wishes to express our support and acknowledgement of the work the Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu organization, as well as other organizations and leaders, do in the territory. Although we may have different views on coal mining, we are in complete agreement on everyone’s right to freedom of speech and we fully understand that community leaders have a vital role to play…

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