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Wednesday 22 April: Coal, Miners and Communities in Colombia
6.30pm, Unite House, 128 Theobald's Road, Holborn, London, WC1X 8TN (near Holborn tube)
Speakers: Jairo Quiroz and Igor Diaz, president and education secretary of Sintracarbon, the mine workers' union at the Cerrejon coal mine, owned by Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore
Organised by Colombia Solidarity Campaign
The world’s biggest mining company, BHP Billiton,held its AGM in London on Thursday 23 October. Colombia Solidarity Campaign worked with other groups in London Mining Network (LMN) including Coal Action Network, Coal Action Scotland, Down to Earth, War on Want and WDM, and with People and Planet and Fossil Free Universities groups, to host representatives of Colombian communities affected by the company’s part-owned Cerrejon coal mine and Indonesian organisations working to stop BHP Billiton develop a massive new coal project in the rainforest of Central Kalimantan.
They attended the company’s AGM to tell shareholders about the destruction of Colombian communities and livelihoods by the Cerrejon mine and the potential impacts of BHP Billiton’s proposed mine in Indonesia. There was an article about the issues in the Guardian. They spoke at a public meeting at SOAS in London, having been prevented at the last minute from speaking at University College, London (UCL), which is sponsored by BHP Billiton. Students in Fossil Free UCL were pretty upset about this. We tried to arrange for the visitors to meet with UCL officials, but we didn’t get very far.
Then our visitors headed off around the country, to the University of East Anglia in Norwich; Sheffield University; Durham University, Newcastle University, then up to Scotland where they spoke at Glasgow University and in Edinburgh. They met with community groups fighting new opencast coal projects in northern England and southern Scotland, and with Members of the Scottish Parliament. Returning south, they met with Bangladeshi groups working to stop UK-listed GCM Resources construct a massive opencast coal mine at Phulbari in Bangladesh, with members of London’s Latin American community, students at Oxford University Fossil Free, and parliamentarians at Westminster.
Anglo American, which co-owns the Cerrejon coal mine with BHP Billiton and Glencore, got upset when we met with parliamentarians.
Take action! Stop forced displacements by Cerrejon Coal in Colombia - sign letter to CEOs of Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore.
5 June, 4pm at 3 Hans Crescent London SW1X 0LN (back of Harrods - Knightsbridge tube)
On World Environment Day, for the last three years, tens of thousands of people, led by the youth, have held Carnivals for Life in Ibagué, which is the nearest city to the La Colosa mining project.
This year there will be similar carnivals and events in other regions, including Tasco (Boyacá), Cucutá (Norte de Santander), and Nariño, as part of the nationwide mobilisation to call for the protection of water and páramos.
Mining projects throughout Colombia pose a major threat to water sources, especially in the high mountain ecosystems known as páramos where plants convert water from clouds into stream sources. Gold processing on an industrial scale threatens water contamination on an industrial scale. Water is life. We say no to gold, yes to life!
A solidarity picket will also be held in Dublin, Ireland at Dáil in Kildare Street, on June 5th at 5pm.
While people speak of peace, tranquillity, development and progress in Urabá, the gunfire does not let up. Yet again our Peace Community finds itself with ethical and moral obligation to record before the country, the world, and history, the new facts of horror, in order to prevent oblivion being complicit in human brutality:
Colombian small-scale campesino farmers need your help! They have had a very difficult time recently due to government policies, such as:
- The signing of Free Trade Agreements with the EU and the US, both of which have heavily subsidised agricultural sectors, meaning that Colombia is being flooded with cheap imports. It may be hard to believe, but Colombia has now become a coffee importer.
- Policies to promote large-scale mining projects and hydroelectric dams, meaning that land ownership is being concentrated by foreign multinational companies in what is already one of the most unequal countries in the world.
- Legislation forcing campesinos to use “certified” genetically modified seeds manufactured by companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta, a threat to food security and sovereignty, and the natural environment, in the second most biodiverse country in the world.
Agrarian protest, August 2013. Photo credit: Utopía la Palabra
Thirty thousand people from all regions of the country attended the Agrarian Summit in Bogotá, from 15 to 17 March, convened by the organizations Mesa de Interlocución Agraria - MIA (Agrarian Dialogue Roundtable), Marcha Patriótica (Patriotic March), Coordinador Nacional Agrario - CNA (National Agrarian Coordinator), el Congreso de los Pueblos (the Peoples’ Congress), el Proceso de Comunidades Negras - PCN (the Afro Communities Process), la Mesa de Unidad Agraria - MUA (Land Unity Roundtable), la Coalición de Movimientos y Organizaciones Sociales de Colombia - COMOSOC (the Coalition of Social Movements and Organizations of Colombia), la Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia - ONIC (the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia), el Movimiento por la Constituyente Popular - MCP (Movement for the Popular Constituent Assembly), Federación Nacional Sindical Unitaria Agropecuaria, FENSUAGRO (United Agricultural Trade Union Federation), Asociación nacional de Zonas de Reserva Campesina – ANZORC (National Association of Campesino Reserves) and Asociación Campesina Popular (Popular Campesino Association).
Alternative Report on the controversial gold mining project in Colombia
Press Release // London // 8 December 2013
Demonstration in Ibagué - Tolima. June 2013. The sign reads: "Yes to Life, No to the Mine". Photo credit: Viviana Sánchez.
London-based human rights organisation Colombia Solidarity Campaign has published an Alternative Report about La Colosa, the AngloGold Ashanti gold mining project in Colombia’s municipality of Cajamarca (Tolima), entitled La Colosa: A Death Foretold.
The report unveils, for the first time, findings which clearly show that if the production phase of the La Colosa gold mine goes ahead, its implications to local communities would be much graver than previously anticipated. Community leaders and human rights defenders are already paying the highest price - their lives - for their opposition to the large-scale corporate mining project.
This report is a result of extensive research that included more than 100 interviews on the ground, legal document analysis, and technical assessment by Dr. Mark Muller, a highly respected international expert on mining.
AngloGold Ashanti is a company listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Please ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 746 about the recent assassinations of César García and Adelinda Gómez in Colombia. Feel free to use the sample template letter below, or write your own.
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