[ENS] It's the Oil, Stupid!
o.edwards at gmail.com
Mon Jun 18 14:04:16 BST 2007
hope some people may be interested in this. See
www.colombiasolidarity.org.uk/prehearing for details. Please forward to
others that may be interested. Registration is £6 for students in advance
from the above link.
*"It's the Oil, stupid" - Corporate Crime, the Environment and Communities*
*A two day event incorporating a Conference and a Preliminary Public
Hearing on BP's activities in Colombia. *
*10am Friday 22 – 10 am Saturday 23 June at **University** of Strathclyde,
Graham Hills Building, **50 George Street**, Glasgow** *
The event will investigate the truth about BP's corporate responsibility in
Colombia. Community and oil workers representatives from Colombia, and
expert witnesses, will address the following:
- 10 years after the scandal broke of BP using secret soldiers in
lethal operations in Colombia, what is the situation today: how has the
corporation responded to its critics? Has it genuinely implemented a policy
of corporate responsibility?
- There is great concern about human rights violations in Casanare,
where the oil is extracted. Local farmers organisations have been heavily
victimised, their leaders assassinated, driving them out of existence.
- A special concern is the increase since 2002 of extra-judicial
executions in oil prospecting zones, both in Casanare and Colombia's other
oil producing province Arauca.
The Colombian witnesses to the Preliminary Public Hearing will be:
- Adelso Gallo representing the Social Organisations of Arauca
(Arauca and Casanare are the two main oil producing areas).
- Isaac Marín Lizarazo of Corporación Social para la Asesoría y la
Capacitación Comunitaria (COS-PACC), a *campesino *leader for more than 20
- William Manuel Vega Vargas is President of COSPACC), a doctor and
- Edgar Mojica is on the Human Rights Commission of USO, the
Expert witnesses from the UK will be:
- Michael Gillard, journalist and producer of *BP's Secret Soldiers
*on the corporation's controversial arrival in Casanare
- Shubhaa Srinivasan, lawyer from Leigh Day and Co Solicitors who
will be reporting the social and environmental impact of the pipeline BP
uses to export the oil
The event is presented by the Colombia Solidarity Campaign in partnership
with Spinwatch, Platform and SEAD (Scottish Education and Action for
Andy Higginbottom, Secretary, Colombia Solidarity Campaign e-mail:
info at colombiasolidarity.org.uk tel (m) 07895095645
Professor David Miller, Department of Geography and Sociology, Strathclyde
University e-mail: davidmiller at strath.ac.uk tel direct 0141 548 3794
mobile 07786 927 551
*NOTES FOR EDITORS *
WHY A 'PRELIMINARY PUBLIC HEARING'?
The social movement in Colombia has formed a chapter of the Permanent
Peoples Tribunal (PPT) and is engaged in a programme of sector tribunals
holding multinationals to account for their complicity in human rights
violations and environmental harm. The first tribunal on the food and
agriculture sector took place in Bogotá on 1 and 2 April 2006, a second
tribunal on the mining sector was held in Medellín on 10 and 11 November
The PPT will hold a tribunal on the hydrocarbons (oil and gas) sector in
Colombia on 2-4 August 2007, the third anniversary of the assassination of
three social movement leaders by the army in Arauca, one of the main oil
producing areas. Oil workers union USO is strongly committed to the process,
as are social movements from the most effected areas.
The results of the pre-hearing in Glasgow will be documented and forwarded
to the PPT for inclusion in the full tribunal on 2-4 August. A delegation
will travel from the UK to attend the tribunal and report back its results.
WHY HOLD BP TO ACCOUNT?
BP is the UK's biggest corporation. It operates Colombia's second most
productive oilfields amidst the foothills of the eastern Andes in Casanare,
from which it has pumped over a billion barrels. The corporation reaped
profits of $347 million in Colombia in 2006. Yet at the same time BP's
workers cannot organise a trade union, the surrounding environment has been
ruined and local communities in Casanare live under a permanent reign of
paramilitary and recently increasing military terror.
On 30 June 1997 BP was exposed for complicity in human rights abuses. ITV's
*World in Action* and *The Guardian* reported the company had contracted the
16th Brigade of the Colombian army to protect its oilfields, despite the
Brigade's dire human rights record. BP also admitted to having employed the
private security company Defence Systems Limited to provide
counter-insurgency training to Colombian police and army units charged with
the protection of BP installations. This training was described as 'lethal'
by a DSL employee and included the surveillance and intimidation of peasant
Ten years on, the time has come to make a balance. Has BP fulfilled the
promises it made in the wake of the scandal? What is the human rights
situation in Casanare today? Are the local communities able to organise?
Has BP really cleaned up its act?
WHY IN SCOTLAND?
There has been increasing debate concerning the social responsibility and
accountability of large corporations. This debate is especially acute with
regards to the exploitation of the oil and gas resources of the North Sea.
There is strong public interest in communities about how BP operates, and
how appropriately natural resources have been utilised. The Open Conference
and Pre-Hearing ill provide the opportunity for the Scottish public to enter
a dialogue on these issues with their Colombian counterparts.
*a) Friday 22 June Conference "Corporate Crime, Environment and Communities"
10.00am POLITICAL ECONOMY OF NATURAL RESOURCE EXTRACTION
Chair: Dr. Mo Hume, Glasgow University
"British Multinationals and the Political Economy of Oil"
Dr Andy Higginbottom, Kingston University
"Scotland in transition, the end of North sea oil"
Mandy Miekle, Depletion Scotland
"Trade Unions in the North Sea" Dr Andy Cumbers, Glasgow University
Speaker from Colombian delegation
11.15am WORKSHOPS FIRST SESSION
A. COMMUNITIES, THE ENVIRONMENT AND BIG OIL
"Occupational health, safety and environment issues in the oil industry" Dr
Dave Whyte Stirling University and Scottish Hazards Campaign **
Norman Philip Grangemouth community projects (and films)
B. INTRODUCTION TO COLOMBIA
Colombians introduce the conflict in their country
1.45pm PLENARY: LINKING CONTINENTS
Chair: Dr. Dave Featherstone, Liverpool University
"The new oil law the and the race to carve up Iraq's oil" Greg Muttitt,
"Indigenous Resistance: in search of a post-neoliberal civilization?"
Teresa Martinez, Strathclyde University
"The Only Language Big Oil Understands, Shell in Nigeria," Dr. Felix
Tuodolo, Liverpool University
2.45 WORKSHOPS SECOND SESSION
A. CLIMATE CHANGE - FROM DEBATE TO ACTION
Almuth Ernsting, Biofuelwatch (Aberdeen)
Karen Grant, Scottish Education and Action for Development
B. GLOBAL CAPITAL AND VIOLENCE IN COLOMBIA
Lara Coleman and Nate Eisenstadt, Espacio Bristol Colombia
Manuel Vega, COS-PACC
C. DEEP FRIED FUTURES - PALM OIL AND BIO-FUELS (INDONESIA)
Gemma Smith and Serge Marti, LifeMosaic **
4.15 PLENARY CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OR ACCOUNTABILITY?
Professor David Miller, Strathclyde University and Spinwatch
Colombian from Delegation
*b) Saturday 23 June Preliminary Public Hearing on BP in Colombia *
10.30 am THE OIL SECTOR IN COLOMBIA
Edgar Mojica, Human Rights Commission of USO, Oilworkers Union.
Adelso Gallo, Social Organisations of Arauca
11.45 am BP's CONTROVERSIAL ARRIVAL IN CASANARE
Showing of* BP's Secret Soldiers* film, and update by Michael Gillard
12.30 pm LUNCH
1.30 pm THE IMPACTS OF BP's PIPELINE
Shubhaa Srinivasan, lawyer from Leigh Day and
2.30pm HUMAN RIGHTS AND ENVIRONMENT IN CASANARE TODAY
Isaac Marín Lizarazo, representative COS-PACC
Manuel Vega, president COS-PACC
4.30 pm SUMMING UP
Summary of case against BP
Space for BP to respond
5.30 pm AGREEMENT OF DECLARATION
More information about the ENS