Colombia’s two largest multinational mining companies, Drummond and a Glencore subsidiary, financed paramilitary groups responsible for massive human rights violations, according to excerpts from a report.
Mining companies such as Drummond and Prodeco maintained close relations with paramilitaries and financed the armed struggle of the now-defunct paramilitary organisation, the AUC, against Colombia’s largest guerrilla organization, the FARC.
The report was based on testimonies of former paramilitary commanders, contractors, and former employees of the mining companies, Drummond and Prodeco, and alleges that these companies were complicit in the extreme human rights violations which occurred as a result of the paramilitaries, reported W Radio.
Environmental and human rights organizations presented the report, “The dark side of coal,” denouncing the relationship between the Colombian paramilitaries and Drummond and Prodeco mining companies in Berlin, Germany.
The Dutch organization PAX, commissioned the study, and reported that both Drummond, based in the US, and Prodeco, a subsidiary of a Swiss company, financed the Colombian paramilitaries between 1996 and 2006, in conflict with the guerrillas.
PAX gathered evidence from former paramilitary leaders who confessed to the NGO that they had been responsible for many deaths and the displacement of tens of thousands of inhabitants in areas granted to Drummond and Prodeco for coal mining, as well in other parts of the Cesar state mining area.
“Mining companies have taken advantage of such cooperation until today,” said Marianne Moor of PAX, in a press conference organized by the environmental organization Urgewald and the human rights association Power Shift.
Moor did not know whether companies have continued to finance the paramilitaries after 2006, “but the people who suffered violence continues to live without justice,” she said.
It is not the first time mining companies in Colombia have been associated with paramilitarism. Drummond has in the past been accused of paying paramilitaries $1.5 million to murder union leaders and of funding the AUC.