PAX Netherlands issues Report on "The Dark Side of Coal"

 

PAX Netherlands – the Dutch section of Pax Christi International - is calling on Essent, Nuon, E.ON, Delta and Electrabel to stop buying Colombian "blood coal" from the mining companies Drummond and Prodeco. These mining companies must first contribute to the acknowledgment and compensation of the thousands of victims of paramilitary violence around their mines in the 1996-2006 period, and actively oppose the current human rights abuses. Drummond and Prodeco paid the paramilitaries and exchanged strategic information with them, according to statements from perpetrators and witnesses in the investigation report "The Dark Side of Coal", which PAX presented today, 30 June 2014, to the Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen.

 

Between 1996 and 2006 paramilitaries murdered a total of 3100 people and drove 55,000 farmers from their land. The victims have never received compensation or acknowledgment. To this day the mining companies benefit from these gross human rights abuses. Some of the land that was seized is within the companies’ territory. The trade union has been systematically weakened by lethal violence; any critics have been silenced by threats.

 

Perpetrators and witnesses say the collaboration between the coal mining companies and the paramilitaries in the Colombian department of Cesar consisted of financial and material support and the exchange of strategic information. The main focus of the investigation "The Dark Side of Coal" is Drummond. There are fewer sources for Prodeco’s involvement, but the information available warrants further investigation.

 

"The Dark Side of Coal" presents previously unreported testimonies of perpetrators and victims, and is the first systematic investigation into the abuses surrounding the coal mines in Cesar.

 

Stop Blood Coal

The Dutch power companies Nuon, Essent, Delta, Electrabel and E.ON buy coal from Drummond and Prodeco for generating electricity for sale to Dutch consumers. The Dutch power companies were and are aware of the large-scale human rights abuses. To date, however, the companies have not stopped buying coal that comes from Cesar.

 

PAX hopes they will stop buying this blood coal until the mining companies contribute to effective redress for the victims. We are appealing to the Dutch public through the "Stop Blood Coal" campaign to find out whether their energy company uses blood coal and, if so, to urge the company’s management to stop importing this coal.

 

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The investigation report "The Dark Side of Coal" is available for download from www.stopbloedkolen.nl, where there is also a summary, a FAQ, and information about the Stop Blood Coal campaign.

 

For additional information or an interview with Marianne Moor, the programme leader for Colombia and the main author of the report, please contact the press officer, Onno Groustra, at groustra@paxforpeace.nl or on +31 6 48102882.