Drummond’s response to PAX letter on recent threats against three community leaders in Cesar

Regarding your email of November 13, we appreciate your efforts in bringing this information to our attention. We are very sorry to hear that this might be taking place, as we believe that everybody everywhere has the right to feel safe.

As you may be aware, we have publicly and strongly condemned any form of violence, threats, intimidation and attacks, and we have called upon any group or individual to resolve their differences peacefully.  If any form of violence or threat has occurred to a Drummond employee, contractor, or member of our neighboring communities, and Drummond is made aware of it, we have immediately contacted the authorities and asked them to investigate and implement any and all appropriate measure.

We have also publicly condemned any and all human rights violations that have occurred in our area of influence or any other location. At all times, we have worked with the governmental institutions to make sure that any alleged human rights violations, including threats against our employees, are investigated. Drummond also expressly prohibits any form of human rights violations and does not tolerate any practices that contravene these rights, and we have also adopted the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VP) as part of our corporate policies, as well as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

With that in mind, the VPs say that “Companies should communicate their policies regarding ethical conduct and human rights to public security providers and express their desire that security be provided in a manner consistent with those policies by personnel with adequate and appropriate training.” We have done this explicitly and in writing.

In terms of protection, as you know, the security of all people is a responsibility of the state. As stated by the very first guiding principle in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, “States must protect against human rights abuse within their territory and/or jurisdiction by third parties, including business enterprises. This requires taking appropriate steps to prevent, investigate, punish and redress such abuse through effective policies, legislation, regulations and adjudication.”

In an equivalent fashion, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights state: “The primary role of public security should be to maintain the rule of law, including safeguarding human rights and deterring acts that threaten Company personnel and facilities. The type and number of public security forces deployed should be competent, appropriate and proportional to the threat.”

Nevertheless, aware of the importance of our presence in the region, we take an active role in promoting security for our people and where they live, as well as for the communities themselves. When we have been made aware of threats or risks, we have been in contact with the authorities and the Director of the National Protection Unit (NPU) so they can take the appropriate actions.  The NPU is the government agency responsible for articulating, coordinating and implementing protection measures to individuals, groups, and communities that could be at risk because of their profession or duties.

Drummond was not aware of the threats you mention, nor do we know the individuals in the video you showed the delegation. They have not communicated with us to let us know of this serious situation, possibly because the zone where they live is not in our area of operations or influence.

That said, we will forward the information to the appropriate authorities. As the Presidential Human Rights Advisor was a member of our delegation, they saw the video, and they have been made aware of this new information.

Lastly, I believe it´s worth mentioning that we have also been working jointly with the Colombian Government on the promotion of human rights through the Human Rights Advisor´s office, the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the National Mining Agency, and other coal mining companies in Working Group through which we have been exchanging experiences in the use of the UNGPs and VPs, and developing input to contribute to the Government´s formulation of its National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights.

We ask PAX or any other organization to keep us updated if there is more information on this topic.