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The US Office on Colombia is proud to announce the release of our latest report, Large-scale mining in Colombia: Human rights violations past, present and future.

We think that this is a very timely publication, especially after the release earlier this week of a report by Colombia’s Comptroller’s office indicating that 80% of human rights violations in 2011 in Colombia took place in municipalities where there were mining projects.

Furthermore, though Colombia is currently engaged in a peace process with the FARC guerrilla that is attempting to partially address the historic inequality in access to land, government negotiators have adamantly refused to address the issue of mineral rights or anything else that has to do with the macro-economic model (which considers large-scale mining to be one of the 5 “motors” of the economy). However, as seen in many other conflicts around the world, mineral wealth can fuel the fire in an already unstable situation and several illegal armed groups are already partially financing their struggles through mining in Colombia. 

Also, with the implementation of the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, we expect much increased investment by US companies in Colombia’s extractives sector, some of which already have an abominable reputation for human rights abuses and ecological destruction in Colombia, like US coal giant, Drummond. To avoid further contributing to human rights abuses, US companies and the US government must understand more fully the context of the conflict over mineral rights in Colombia and implement safeguards to protect the rights of Colombia’s people and pristine ecosystems.

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There’s also an Executive Summary of the report on our website:

US Office on Colombia