RE: Social Conflict Surrounding PRE's Activities in Colombia
As members of concerned social organizations, we present you with a joint letter about Pacific Rubiales Energy's activities in Colombia.
Last summer, we participated in a Canadian delegation attending a "People's Tribunal" hearing on PRE's activities in the Meta region of Colombia. The delegation was formed at the request of a number of Colombian organizations, which were concerned with the company's labour and environmental practices. Eight Quebec and Canadian unions, NGOs and political organizations visited Meta in July 2013. The delegation heard a number of complaints from workers and local indigenous groups, namely that there had been: a lack of prior consultation with indigenous peoples for project infrastructure; signs of water contamination in the health of local indigenous populations; discrepancies in production reports, affecting royalty payments; violations of the right to unionize by PRE contractors and poor working conditions; as well as the presence of a private security checkpoint on a public road. Participants in the tribunal also complained of being criminalized and targeted for their protest activities, with one worker murdered and several others facing jail time. The full report is available at www. pasc.ca1.
This month, in Bogotá, Colombia, representatives from ten communities near PRE's oil fields set up a protest camp outside of the company's offices. They were joined by members of the oil workers labor union USO ("Union Sindical Obrera", in Spanish) and the Environmental Communitarian Committee of Puerto Gaitan, Meta. Together, they are demanding the reversion of PRE's oil exploitation contracts to the Colombian state for its Campo Rubiales, Campo Piriri and Campo Quifas sites. USO members are also asking for a revision of the company’s environmental licenses, investigations on the legality of Pacific Rubiales’ territorial possessions, reparations for injured workers, and the protection of community and union leaders, among other demands. The Colombian government has indicated that it will respond to these requests at the end of May, 2014.
In closing, we hope that you will take this information into consideration during the PRE Annual General Meeting, and that you will reconsider holding shares in the company.
Project Accompaniment and Solidarity - Colombia (PASC)
Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine (CDHAL)