Response to Pax Report “Civil Society Under Threat”
Sept. 23, 2016
We have read the latest report published by Pax on their webpage regarding alleged threats against civil society in Colombia by what Pax calls neo-paramilitary organizations, which the Colombian authorities have described as criminal gangs (BACRIM is the acronym in Spanish).
Drummond condemns and denounces these gangs and their criminal acts. Drummond has had no dealings or contacts with these gangs nor have we had contact with any other groups outside the law, as has been proven time and time again in U.S. and Colombian courts.
Furthermore, Drummond vehemently rejects any threats from these criminal gangs to employees, communities and NGOs. These gangs are outside the law and do not represent or defend Drummond’s interests. At all times, we have worked with Colombian institutions to make certain any threats or human rights violations against our employees are investigated.
Regarding violent incidents in the region where we operate, as we communicated to Pax in a letter we sent them in May of this year, “at Drummond we share with the vast majority of Colombians and the international community the pain for all the victims of violence in Colombia. The suffering to which all these victims have been subjected is unacceptable, regardless of who the perpetrators have been. We celebrate the efforts that the Colombian Government has made to put together a peace process with the FARC and the ELN, and we wholeheartedly hope that the process is successful, strengthening democracy and contributing to a more sustainable future for Colombia.”
Regarding the specific cases mentioned in the “Civil Society Under Threat” report, Drummond immediately reported to the authorities the facts we were aware of and asked them to investigate and take measures they deem necessary, as per our policies and in accordance with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, as well as the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business (as for the others cases reported by Pax, we are forwarding the report to the appropriate authorities.) At all times we have worked with the governmental institutions to make sure investigations are carried out and the responsible parties are brought to justice.
Finally, in this report Pax once again relies on false testimonies from convicted paramilitaries, when it has been proven, and Pax is fully aware, that they were paid for their false statements. This is the finding of the judiciary.
Again, using an excerpt from the letter we sent to Pax in May of this year, “the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Drummond Company and declined the request by the plaintiffs of Balcero v. Drummond to review the case, re-affirming the ruling by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, affirming the district court’s dismissal of the case on July 25, 2013.” The Court´s original ruling stated that the evidentiary record “demonstrated an absence of evidence in support of Plaintiffs´ case. Drummond welcomes the Supreme Court´s decision, as it is a re-affirmation that we conduct business following the law at all times. At no time have we ever been involved in illegal activities or in relationships with illegal groups.”
Once again we ask Pax to rectify and withdraw the defamatory and false accusations that have been proven time and time again to be groundless.