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Mining in Colombia & Latin America, London Conference

Mining in Colombia and Latin America: will the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights improve accountability? 12-11-12

Keynote Speech - Danilo Rueda, Colombian Human Rights Lawyer from the Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace (CIJP) will present a southern perspective on the UN Guiding Principles. The UK will launch its initial strategy on implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in September 2012 and this conference will provide an opportunity to discuss and debate this strategy, to engage with the UK government on how it can best fulfil its commitment to 'Protect, Respect and Remedy', and with corporations on their ideas for the implementation of responsible mining practices and due diligence requirements.

Issues of natural resource governance are invariably at the centre of development and human rights debates as the extractive sector represents a growing part of Latin American economies. In Colombia, the government has identified the mining and energy sector as a key component of its current National Development Plan and one of the 'backbones of the Colombian economy'.

What changes can be made to take into account the voices of local indigenous, afro-Colombian and campesino communities? What are the challenges for companies investing in countries with poor human rights records and how are they meeting them? How is human rights due diligence seen from a Southern perspective? What difference could the UN Guiding Principles make and what concrete actions should governments be taking to improve the mining industry's environmental and social performance?

Tackling these questions will be experts from a range of disciplines and key public bodies, including scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers, as well as representatives from the legal sector and mining industry. We are pleased to welcome indigenous and campesino community leaders from Colombia, including Embera and Awá indigenous peoples, to share the impact mining is having on their communities.

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