COLOMBIA: CPT puts AngloGold Ashanti on trial

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CPTnet
16 June 2010
COLOMBIA:  CPT puts AngloGold
Ashanti on trial

 

[Note: Prensa Rural (Rural Press), an alternative,
independent news source in Colombia, covered CPT’s symbolic witness in front of
the Bogota headquarters of mining giant AngloGold Ashanti.  An
international CPT delegation, two Colombia team members, as well as a few
Colombian partner organizations held a trial accusing the multinational company
of grave human rights violations in an artisanal mining community that CPT
accompanies.  Below is an English adaptation of the article Prensa Rural
released.]

On Monday 24 May 2010, in front of the northern Bogota headquarters
of the multinational corporation AngloGold Ashanti, members of an international
delegation of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) performed a symbolic trial.  The delegation was composed of six
United States citizens and one Canadian citizen, as well as representatives of
the CRIC, Sembrar, Mobilization Against Hunger and Poverty, and CPT team
members Julie Myers and Chris Knestrick.

The action tried to make visible the human rights violations
in Colombia committed by the Canadian mining company, including displacement,
forced disappearances, political corruption, militarization, contracts with
paramilitaries, and environmental degradation.


”We are internationals but we are not in agreement
with international and multinational corporations stealing the land for the
profit of other countries, without thinking about the people who work and live
for years and years on the land in way that is just and sustainable,” said
Julie Myers.


In the heavy rain, the participants read accusations
brought against the company to a delegate dressed in gold clothing,
symbolically representing AngloGold Ashanti.  After each accusation, the
crowd shouted “guilty!” and a participant wrapped a paper chain that read “guilty”
around the delegate.


Simultaneously, two members of the delegation delivered a
letter to company president Rafael Herz, answering his call in which he invited
the international community and NGOs to provide advice and suggestions to
improve the company’s operations in Colombia.


In the letter, they shared that during their delegation,
they visited several communities and heard farmers and miners tell stories of the
violence and displacement that they have suffered at the hands the army and
paramilitary groups.

Part of the letter stated, “Now, after our trip, we
know clearly that you are violating the human rights of communities (…) We
know you are working with the military and paramilitary forces to evict the
inhabitants of the places where AngloGold Ashanti has concessions.  Every day, more and more multinationals
are known as international and human rights violators, and companies have
worked together with paramilitaries and are involved in murders, massacres,
displacement, disappearances.  You
are no different.  You are
guilty!”

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