Blue Planet Project founder Maude Barlow has tweeted:
European human rights group lodges complaint on role played by Nestlé in murder of Colombian trade unionist. http://t.co/uGzWgCadzy
— Maude Barlow (@MaudeBarlow) January 5, 2015
This refers to the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) asking the European Court of Human Rights to determine if the Swiss judiciary adequately examined the role played by Nestlé when the court refused to investigate the corporation's liability in the murder of Colombian trade unionist and Nestlé worker Luciano Romero.
An ECCHR media release provides the background and explains, "On 10 September 2005 trade unionist, human rights activist and former Nestlé-Cicolac employee Luciano Romero was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by members of a paramilitary group. His murder came after a number of death threats that arose in the context of a long-standing labor dispute between the trade union Sinaltrainal and the Nestlé factory Cicolac. The trade union Sinaltrainal had reported all death threats made against its members to the Nestlé subsidiary in Colombia as well as to the parent company in Switzerland. Instead of taking the necessary precautionary measures, local Nestlé managers spread libelous reports that Luciano Romero and his colleagues were reputed to be members of the guerilla, rumors which put these individuals in even greater danger. The parent company failed to prevent these actions."
ECCHR General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck says, "The lapse of the statute of limitations, a lack of jurisdiction, investigatory difficulties – it’s always the same arguments. European corporations are almost never held accountable in their home states for human rights violations committed abroad."
Over the past thirty years, almost 3,000 trade unionists have been murdered in Colombia. Thirteen of those murdered worked for Nestlé.
The Blue Planet Project expresses its solidarity with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and their pursuit of justice for Luciano Romero.
In Canada, the Council of Canadians has supported C-323, legislation that would hold Canadian corporations accountable in Canadian courts for violations committed outside of Canada. Member of Parliament Peter Julian says, "The bill would ensure corporate accountability for Canadian firms operating abroad. It would broaden the mandate of the Federal Court so that it protects foreign citizens against rights violations committed by corporations operating outside of Canada. This bill would hold violators accountable for gross human rights abuses, regardless of where they take place, and it would allow lawsuits in Canada for a host of universal human rights violations. Essentially, this bill would provide legal protection for those in other countries who are the victims of gross human rights violations."
For numerous campaign blogs critical of Nestlé both in Canada and globally, please click here.
Groups seek prosecution of Nestle for murder of Colombian trade unionist (May 2013 blog)
Julian introduces C-323, international protection of human rights (October 2011 blog)