Mayo 16, 2019

Cerrejón condemns threats against fuerza de mujeres wayuu leaders and sintracarbón’s igor diaz and requests prompt investigations from authorities

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 of this type 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, as well as against Cerrejón workers and union members such as Mr. Díaz, the company wants to make clear the urgency of investigating the situation and taking the necessary protective measures. 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 for these acts.

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 in working to defend and improve the living conditions of their fellow citizens.

Based on its strong Human Rights Policy, Cerrejón roundly rejects that even today union activity is seen by some as a threat to doing business. As a company that respects freedom of association, Cerrejón stands with Mr. Díaz and supports the union activity that he and his companions practice. As such, we call upon all the relevant authorities to protect all citizens and activists in La Guajira and to move swiftly to clarify these threats. Cerrejón will also make sure that any and all preventive measures that are needed are implemented.

Likewise, Cerrejón stands in solidarity with the workers from the other companies, Drummond and Prodeco, also mentioned in the pamphlet threatening Mr. Díaz, and we repeat the statements and requests made previously by Mr. Guillermo Fonseca, President of Cerrejón, where he expressed “On behalf of myself and Cerrejón, I want to express our repudiation of the threats and attacks on  human rights and environmental leaders and defenders. Cerrejón has been very clear about our position, that we repudiate these acts, and I want to take this opportunity to confirm this and ask that these attacks and threats stop, allowing the defence of rights in the regions to be carried out freely and safely”.