Statement 14 August 2013 Colombian Caravana UK Lawyers Group 
Cerrejon, one of the largest open cast coal mines in the world, controlled by Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata, is facing a legal challenge for contravening  the legal rights of the local community living around the mine, mainly indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples, as well as its own workers. In June, the Colombian Caravana UK Lawyers Group and the Bar Human Rights Committee filed an intervention (known as an amicus curiae) in the case, in which judgement is expected any day. But Cerrejon is now objecting to the intervention and arguing it should be rejected.
Meanwhile the Caravana wrote to the company in February 2013 asking them to produce their reports about air pollution and the impact of their mining activities on health, which have been kept secret.  The Caravana proposed that a fund be established to compensate the communities which have experienced 3 decades of serious damage to the health of their families and livestock as well as fish, plants, birds and trees.  The company sent a brief reply in May, ignoring the key demands.  The Caravana  wrote again on 21 July, but to date the company is failing to respond.
The Colombian authorities are bringing the claim against Carbones del Cerrejon Ltd and others in the Administrative Tribunal in Bogota, Colombia.  They argue there has been a breach of the collective rights to a healthy environment, public safety and public health for mineworkers and the community living around the mine, mainly indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples. The miners’ union (SINTRACARBON) which intervened in the case has limited resources and asked for assistance on international legal issues.
Contact: Sara Chandler, Chair, Colombian Caravana,