July 15, 2019

Cerrejón condemns new threats against social leaders in La Guajira

As we have stated in the past, Cerrejón once again wishes to express how concerned and disturbed we are about the constant threats aimed at social leaders in the department. In a new pamphlet, made public by leaders and among the community, serious threats were made against Inés Pérez, the current legal representative for the Tabaco Pro-relocation Social Board and also for José Gil and Blas Sierra, who belong to the Charito and El Rocío communities, respectively.

These threats, which form part of an ever-growing list in the department over the course of the year, are completely unacceptable and affect the important work carried out in La Guajira by leaders and human rights and environmental defenders. As such, the company implores the authorities to take all the necessary actions to keep these leaders safe, and to do a full investigation in order to get at the facts and bring those responsible to justice. Additionally, Cerrejón has called a meeting with local and national authorities to address this truly deplorable and worrisome situation

At the same time, Cerrejón also roundly rejects any insinuation that we are responsible for these truly horrible acts. While the company may have a different perspective from some of the region’s leaders when it comes to mining, Cerrejón respects different opinions and perspectives, and recognizes the important role these people play in defending human rights and strengthening the communities.

Finally, respect and promotion of the human rights of our employees, contractors and the people living in the neighbouring communities are a priority for Cerrejón. This is why we have established a Human Rights policy aligned with the highest international standards. The company remains strong in its belief in constructive dialogue and a respect for differences, and we remain committed to both. Likewise, we cannot express strongly enough our rejection of violence and intimidation aimed at any social leader in the region.