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22 Feb 2021

Latino Rebels

Colombia: Biggest Coal Mine in Latin America, Carbones de Cerrejón, accused of countless human rights violations against indigenous groups, according to local leaders

“Biggest Coal Mine in Latin America Accused of Human Rights Violations in Colombia”, 10th February 2021

...Javier Rojas is a leader of the Shipia Wayuu organization and member of the Wayuu Nation, one of Colombia’s largest indigenous groups who mostly live in the northeastern department of La Guajira. Many Wayuu live in rural areas and have relied on subsistence farming, which is in crisis as only 4% have access to clean water in an arid climate. “Our communities have been suffering due to all of the contamination for having the biggest coal mine in Latin America as our neighbor,” Rojas told Latino Rebels. Between 2010-2018, 4,770 Wayuu children died in la Guajira due to malnutrition, and despite court orders to improve the situation, children are still starving...Carbones de Cerrejón...[jointly owned by Anglo American, BHP and Glencore]...[,]...claims that it creates wealth for the people of La Guajria, the people of Colombia, and its international shareholders all the while doing responsible mining. This struggle has taken place in courts, the UN, and newspapers. The dispute continues, as this January a coalition of Colombian and international civil society organizations filed a complaint with the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, alleging that CMC Coal Marketing Company —which buys all of Cerrejón’s coal and is owned by the same parent companies— has a responsibility for ongoing human rights violations in La Guajira...Social organizations question the government’s willingness to protect its own people. The current Colombian government has prioritized oil and mineral production for economic development, as have previous governments, and relies on royalties from oil and mining for the national budget...Cerrejón has not yet refuted the specific points of the complaint, but has said that they are “committed to operating with the strictest fulfillment of Colombian legislation and court rulings, as well as international standards and recommendations on human rights and the environment”...

To access further company responses and news from Carbones de Cerrejón, click here.