Bettercoal is following with both interest and concern the legal proceedings which have been brought against Drummond Colombia’s President José Miguel Linares of having allegedly financed and backed the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) between 1996 and 2001. The seriousness of these charges is not taken lightly by Bettercoal or its Membership. But we also firmly believe in due process and not commenting on legal proceedings, therefore we will await the outcome.
Drummond has been a Bettercoal Supplier since 2014 having undergone the first Bettercoal Assessment in 2014 and re-assessment in 2019 against the Bettercoal Code v1.1. The independent assessors noted significant progress between the two assessments including on governance and human rights issues. Whilst the assessors identified room for improvement in most areas, Drummond was no longer missing on any of the Code’s requirements.
Bettercoal and the Colombia Working Group (CWG) are in regular contact with Drummond as well as with key counterparts in Colombia. And our position with regards to the reconciliation process remains unchanged: we would like to see all Bettercoal Suppliers actively contribute to the Truth Commission and further engage with the Asemblea Campessina as well as with other victim organisations.
The CWG, whose 2020 Progress Report can be found here, has clearly highlighted that fostering increased dialogue in the peace building process is one of its key priorities. As part of Bettercoal’s commitment to support the peace building process in the mining regions the Colombia members of the CWG have agreed to support the Regional Center for Responsible Businesses and Entrepreneurship (Centro Regional de Empresas y Emprendimientos Responsables or CREER) multi-stakeholder dialogue project Building Trust in Cesar, one of the most important coal mining regions in Colombia.
The CWG has already planned numerous engagements with all relevant Colombian stakeholders during our virtual visit to Colombia in March 2021. The topic of peace building and reconciliation will feature heavily in the conversations.