Date filed
20 April 2023
Countries of harm
Current status


On 20 April 2023, a specific instance was filed by La Asamblea Campesina del Cesar por la Restitución de Tierras y el Buen Vivir [Cesar Farmers’ Assembly for the Restitution of Lands and Wellbeing], PAX for Peace, and SOMO against four electric utility companies – RWE AG, Uniper SE, Engie SA, Vattenfall AB – and three logistics companies – HES International, Havenbedrijf Amsterdam NV [Amsterdam Port Authority], and Havenbedrijf Rotterdam [Rotterdam Port Authority] – at NCP Netherlands. All of the companies are involved in the coal trade in the Netherlands. The complaint alleges that the companies have failed to meet the standards expected of them in the OECD Guidelines in relation to their association – through their purchases and handling of coal – with the ongoing severe adverse human rights impacts of forced displacement of over 59,000 individuals from farming communities in the coal mining region of Cesar, Colombia.

Since 2009, more than 100 million tons of coal associated with forced displacements in Cesar have been transported through Dutch ports for use in power plants in the Netherlands and other European countries. Through business relationships directly linking them to coal mined by coal mining companies Drummond and Prodeco/Glencore, the respondent companies were (or still are) directly linked to mass forced displacements that took place in the Cesar region between 1996 and 2006 and that continue unresolved to this day. 

The complaint argues that, at the latest by 2017, the four energy companies – RWE, Uniper, Engie, and Vattenfall – shifted from a position of being directly linked to the forced displacements to a position of facilitating and thus contributing to these ongoing, unresolved adverse impacts as they continued their substantial purchases of coal from Drummond and Prodeco/Glencore’s Cesar mines while failing to undertake effective due diligence to address the severe human rights harms.

The complainants are seeking mediation from NCP Netherlands to facilitate dialogue between the parties. They seek from RWE, Uniper, Engie, and Vattenfall concrete financial contributions for remediation of the adverse impacts, as well as for the energy companies to exercise leverage over Drummond and Prodeco/Glencore to insist that the mining companies take steps to remediate the forced displacements. Among other things, the complainants seek from HES International and the Ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam that the companies recognise their direct link to the adverse impacts and exercise their leverage over the four energy utility companies, as well as Drummond and Prodeco/Glencore, to insist that they comply remediate the impacts.

Relevant OECD Guidelines


Related to the complaint against Amsterdam Port Authority, on 15 October 2023 three motions were adopted by the City of Amsterdam is a city council meeting: (1) The City of Amsterdam will demand that the Port of Amsterdam Authority stop the import of “blood coal” from Cesar, Colombia, (2) That the City of Amsterdam will instruct the Port of Amsterdam Authority to contribute to the remediation of the human rights abuses in Colombia, and (3) the City of Amsterdam will instruct the Port of Amsterdam Authority to revisit its plan to completely phase-out coal by 2030, with the intention of completing the full coal phase out earlier than 2030. [See the link, specifically at “16. Kennisnemen van het bericht over de overslag van Colombiaanse bloedkolen in de Amsterdamse haven VN2023-020596”.]

More details

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