January 19, 2021

Statement from Cerrejon on the Complaints presented by NGOs before OECD National contact points

We understand that a number of NGOs, including Christian Aid Ireland (CAI) and the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), have filed complaints before several National Contact Points in Ireland, the UK, Switzerland, and Australia), alleging human rights violations by Cerrejon and its shareholders, as well as indirectly by its customers, in contravention with the OECD Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct.

The NGOs did not engage with Cerrejon prior to filing their complaints with the NCP. Once we are aware of the full details of their concerns, we will respond in detail. Cerrejón is committed to operating in adherence to Colombian legislation and judicial rulings as well as the appropriate international guidelines governing human and environmental rights.

Cerrejon is in regular contact with the communities close to the mine. We have a large number of commitments in place, agreed with the communities themselves, to address legacy issues in a way that is in line with current international standards and that also seeks to respond to community expectations for the future.  Given the number of communities and the social complexities of the region, this involves responding to voices that are not always united in perspectives. Our consultation and engagement programmes go beyond the requirements set out in Colombian law and are a commitment by the mine to listen and respond to community concerns.

We would like to reiterate the following:

  • Throughout our 30-year operation, we have continually been adopting social, environmental and human rights standards as they have evolved, always demonstrating full commitment to international standards. This commitment is set out in our Human Rights policy, which aligns with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP), as well as in our Social Management Policy. As part of this process, and in addition to our compliance with Colombian laws and regulations, we implement standards such as the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the International Finance Corporation performance standards, and the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) Mining Principles and Position Statements, among others. We have a system to ensure compliance through internal and external oversight.
  • Cerrejón has undertaken two Human Rights Risk and Impact Assessments (HRIA):  these were carried out in 2011 and 2016 by independent third parties.  We had just started a new process in early 2020 which had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 emergency. This will be resumed this year. The first two assessments both led to action plans aimed at strengthening our prevention and mitigation measures. They were assessments with the participation of a wide group of stakeholders, including local communities. The results were shared, as recommended by the UNGPs, with authorities and communities to get their feedback and recommendations on better management.
  • Cerrejón´s grievance mechanism (Complaints Office), operational since 2010, was designed under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights framework (UNGPs), as part of the pilot on rights-based grievance mechanism led by former United Nations Special Representative for Business and Human Rights, John Ruggie.

Cerrejón is ready to engage with the National Contact Points and provide all the information required.  We strongly encourage them to visit the mine in La Guajira, when possible, considering the current global pandemic, in order to see the operation first-hand and understand the context and challenges faced.