Date filed
19 January 2021
Countries of harm
Current status


On 19 January 2021, the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) filed specific instances against five companies affiliated with the Cerrejón coal mine in northern Colombia with the NCPs of Ireland, the UK, Australia, and Switzerland. The complaints were supported by a collection of regional and international NGOs (Christian Aid, CAJAR, CINEP/PPP, AIDA, ASK, and ABColombia).

The complaints allege that the Cerrejón mine has caused adverse human rights impacts by displacing indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities without their free, prior, and informed consent. The complaints further allege that the mine has polluted the air and water in the vicinity of the mine with consequent human rights impacts.

The first complaint was filed in Australia, Switzerland, and the UK against Cerrejón’s three parent companies: Anglo American, BHP, and Glencore. The second complaint was filed in Ireland against Coal Marketing Company (CMC), which is the exclusive marketer of Cerrejón coal. The third complaint was filed in Ireland against the Electricity Supply Board (ESB), an Irish state-owned enterprise that has purchased coal from Cerrejón. The complainants are seeking mediation with a view to ensuring the progressive closure of the Cerrejón mine and remediation of existing adverse human rights impacts.

Relevant OECD Guidelines


On 10 January 2022, NCP Switzerland determined in its initial assessment that the complaint merited further consideration and offered its good offices to the parties. According to the NCP, the scope of a possible mediation would concern Glencore’s due diligence duties in relation to the issues raised in the complaint, and the mediation would not consider issues in ongoing parallel proceedings (including proceedings taking place under Colombian law and ICSID (International Center for Settlements for Investment Disputes) proceedings by Glencore against Colombia). NCP Switzerland also offered to extend such mediation to Anglo American and BHP.

On 29 August 2022, the complainants decided to withdraw from the case. In their view, the negotiations on the Terms of Reference for the mediation had irrevocably failed. At the time of withdrawal, there was according to GLAN no resolution on their requests regarding the following issues: access to the mediation for the six supporting NGOs and, separately, indigenous community leaders; the scope of the mediation required by the three initial assessments; and, the Swiss NCP’s approach to their geographical jurisdiction.

On 20 December, 2022, the NCP published its final statement concluding the case without agreement between the parties. The NCP recommended that Glencore should maintain dialogue with all stakeholders, including with the complainant, its supporting NGO and other local groups, such as representatives from Wayúu community. The NCP also recommended that the owner of the mine should ensure due diligence policies and measures to promote responsible business conduct.

The final statement did not include any concrete plans to follow up, but will, as part of standard practice, send requests for feedback to involved parties.

More details

Company in violation
Other companies involved
Affected people
Other NCP's where the complaint was filed
Date rejected / concluded
20 December 2022

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