Colombian human rights defender visits UK to tell BP to pay up

8 May 2018 - 10:30am
Event

Colombian human rights defender visits UK to tell BP to pay up and demand #OilJustice

In the days leading up to the protest at British Petroleum's annual general meeting in Manchester on 21 May, War on Want and the Oil Justice Project will be hosting a visit from Fabián Laverde Doncel, a Colombian human rights defender and legal advisor for victims of state and corporate crimes. 

Fabián is the chairperson of COS-PACC, one of our partner organisations in Colombia. COS-PACC is dedicated to supporting and working with victims of state and corporate crime. In the region of Casanare, it has supported communities affected by the expansion of Big Oil – including BP – to find justice for human rights abuses and environmental impacts in over 20 years of exploration and exploitation. He is also the national coordinator of Human Rights of the People's Congress (Congreso de los Pueblos) in Colombia. 

Events in London and Manchester

What: Spanish-language discussion on corporations, human rights and peace in Colombia. 

When: 18.30-20.30 on 16 May

Where: at Unite the Union, 128 Theobalds Road, WC1X 8TN London, United Kingdom

What: Fabián will speak alongside Fernando Cabrera from the Southern Oil Observatory in Argentina (see below) at this public event to discuss how the fossil fuel industry continues to operate as an arm of imperialism in Latin America.

When: 18.30-20.30 on 17 May

Where: at Room 349, Senate House, Malet St, London, WC1E 7HU

What: Fabián and Fernando will speak alongside Helena Coates (Frack Free Greater Manchester) at this open event to share stories of resistance and talk about how to offer practical support and solidarity. 

When: 14.00-16.00 on 19 May

Where: at Manchester Friends' Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS 

What: Join us to demonstrate to passing shareholders that BP is a toxic company to invest in for people and climate. Please bring black clothing for the candlelight vigil. 

When: 10.00 on 21 May

Where: meet outside Manchester Central Library, 1 Central Street, Manchester M2 3 

Background

When BP pulled out of Colombia in 2010, it left behind a long trail of human rights abuses and environmental damage. Community activists and trade union leaders have been murdered or disappeared and communities are still struggling for truth, accountability and justice.

BP and Shell, who won't frack in Britain for fear of "the wrong kind of attention," are also key backers of the Vaca Muerta fracking mega-project in Argentina. The extraction of the world’s second largest reserve of gas threatens indigenous land rights, safe drinkable water and clean air for people in Patagonia.

Latin American activists and scholars talk about projects like Vaca Muerta as extractivism: a model of economic development that’s based on large-scale extraction of natural resources (mining, industrial agriculture) to sell raw materials abroad. Multinational corporations like BP extract fossil fuels and profit, leaving little benefit behind except devastating impacts. 

Extractivism is at the heart of the current model for economic development. We know that to challenge climate change, we need system change. We want a just transition from fossil fuels and away from a development model that defends inequality and injustice. In this system, Big Oil is allowed to steal and pollute water sources and are actually protected by the politicians responsible for representing communities whose ecosystems, lives and livelihoods are threatened.

For this and many other crimes, we believe that BP owes reparations to the Colombian people for the damage it has done, particularly because holding to account corporations like BP that have fuelled conflict in Colombia is essential to achieve lasting peace. We also believe BP should not be allowed to frack for gas at the expense of the lands of indigenous people in Argentina in a last ditch attempt to extract even more fossil fuels.

Oil Justice Project

The Oil Justice Project is collaboration between COSPACC, War on Want and Deighton Pierce Glyn that seeks to tell the stories of communities affected by human rights abuses perpetrated by oil multinationals and the struggles these communities are engaging in to bring the companies to justice. 

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