Colombia has experienced armed conflict since 1964 which began when high levels of rural unemployment led to widespread poverty and large-scale displacement and contributed to aggression by guerrilla groups and paramilitaries. The prolonged, armed conflict has resulted in deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacements of many more throughout the entire country. We wholeheartedly condemn all threats, violence and human rights abuses in Colombia, including those alleged to have been made by criminal organisations against union leaders.
We believe the peace process will be most effective when led by the Colombian government. The Colombian government has asked Prodeco to work with the government and other organisations to support the peace process. A process to support victims has been established; we respect these efforts and support where appropriate.
We are contributing by:
- Providing support to vulnerable communities near our operations to help them achieve sustainable livelihoods
- Working with the Cesar Program for Development and Peace (PDP), a regional independent entity focused in joining efforts to consolidate reconciliation and peace in the region
- Actively collaborating in the development of the Colombian National Action Plan for Companies and Human Rights
- Recognising that civil society must be an active partner in the peace process for equitable and sustainable results, we are working with state agencies, and are dedicated to alleviating poverty through our community programmes
- Organising our processes and systems to be ready for the post-conflict activities and work with the communities that have been affected by the conflict
- Working jointly with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on an ambitious initiative to strengthen the capabilities of local institutions to conceive, develop and deliver high impact development projects for the region
We also welcome signs of the government’s willingness to provide remedy to victims of human rights abuses from the conflict. We were especially pleased to note that financial compensation has been implemented to the victims of forced displacement by paramilitaries at El Prado in the Cesar province in 2002.
Through our relationship with the Employment and Entrepreneurship Centre, which we established in the vicinity of our mining area in partnership with the Valledupar’s Chameber of Commerce and the Mayor of La Jagua’s office, we are collaborating with the Unit for the Attention of Victims (Unidad de Atencion de Victimas), an integral part of the Department of Social Prosperity to help reintegrate participants in the conflict into society.