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Colombia: Cerrejón Coal accused of Covid-19-related human rights abuses; NGOs and barrister submit claims to UN special procedures

Cerrejón Coal is facing fresh accusations of alleged abuse of environmental and human rights of the Wayuu indigenous community in Colombia. Barrister Monica Feria-Tinta, of Twenty Essex, instructed by CAJAR, has filed a claim before the The UN Special Rapporteur on Environment and Human Rights, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, the Special Rapporteur on Toxic Waste and the Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

A statement by the Wayuu communities said that the company has resumed operations during COVID-19, placing the community at risk and increasing their vulnerability in a context of water scarcity. It added that the Wayuu have a history of respiratory diseases and are vulnerable to coronavirus, and when mining activities were suspended there was an improvement in the community's health.

"In essence, the communities are seeking the suspension of all mining activities by Cerrejon in the current context," barrister Monica Feria-Tinta said.

This story includes the press release from Cerrejón Coal in response to the communities' statement. Cerrejon has denied the allegations.

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