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Human rights & environmental harms at Cerrejón mine

...Multiple National Contact Points (NCPs) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will begin the process of investigating three international mining giants (BHP, Anglo American and Glencore) and Ireland’s state-owned energy provider, the ESB, over serious human rights abuses and devastating environmental pollution at the Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia. Parallel complaints were filed (19 Jan 2021) simultaneously in Australia, Ireland, Switzerland and the UK by the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) with the support of international development agency Christian Aid Ireland as well as Colombian and international human rights and environmental NGOs - CINEP, CAJAR, AIDA, ABColombia and ASK...The Cerrejón mine in Colombia, one of the largest open-pit mines in the world, is linked to the forced displacement of indigenous Wayúu and Afro-Colombian communities and widespread, persistent, and extreme pollution of air and water. High concentrations of harmful metals, which can cause diseases such as cancer, have been found by Colombia’s Constitutional Court to exist in the blood of those living near to the mine. Studies have shown that air pollution is driving elevated levels of cellular damage, in turn raising the risk of cancer, DNA damage, and chromosomal instability for those living in the region...In 2020, Cerrejón’s operations were denounced by several prominent UN human rights experts. The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment said that the case was ‘one of the most disturbing situations’ he had encountered in his time in the post....Cerrejón is co-owned by three mining giants: Anglo America, BHP, and Glencore. These companies are based in the UK, Australia, and Switzerland. Cerrejón also has links to Ireland, which were set out in a detailed report by Christian Aid in February 2020. Irish state-owned energy company ESB has bought millions of tonnes of coal from Cerrejón over the past two decades, and this relationship was recently criticised by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination...

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