Please stand with human rights defenders who are under threat right now - send an email to your MP asking them to call for a new Business, Human Rights and Environment Act.
We're calling on the UK government to introduce a new Business, Human Rights and Environment Act to hold business to account when it fails to prevent human rights abuses and environmental harm.
If we are to tackle the climate crisis and global poverty around the world, we must address the destruction linked to UK companies.
Join our campaign to protect people and our common home
Communities we work with around the world are experiencing inequalities and exploitation, and this is linked to the activities of UK companies. This includes:
water pollution from industrial activity
removing people from their land
the abuse and killing of human rights and environmental defenders who show resistance.
We believe this abuse has to stop.
Mining in Colombia
In La Guajira, Colombia, it has been reported that more than 20 communities have been forcibly displaced or dispossessed as a result of the huge open-pit Cerrejón coal mine. The Wayúu women, who have a deep connection to their land and water, have been deeply impacted, and have reported that more than 17 streams have been redirected or polluted.
The mine was jointly owned by UK-based company BHP and London-listed Anglo American and Glencore until 2021, with Glencore recently taking full ownership. These companies have profited from the mine, but questions have been raised as to whether they have taken sufficient action to deal with these issues.
Local communities have complained that the company has failed to fully comply with more than 10 Colombia court rulings, or to heed calls from several prominent UN human rights experts for the mine’s operations to be suspended.
Why current laws aren't enough
While the UK has made some progress in introducing legislation, such as the Modern Slavery Act which was passed in 2015 to ensure more transparency in supply chains, it’s clear that just requiring companies to be transparent isn’t enough to prevent abuse.
The Modern Slavery Act also doesn’t cover many of the impacts business activities have on the communities CAFOD works with, such as mass pollution and attacks on human rights defenders.
Our faith calls us to act
Pope Francis calls on us to strengthen national and international legislation to regulate the activities of companies and provide justice for the people they affect. More than 100 bishops worldwide have called for an end to corporate abuse.
That's why we're urging the UK government to introduce a new Business, Human Rights and Environment Act to hold business to account when it fails to prevent human rights abuses and environmental harm.
This new law would make sure that companies act to prevent human rights and environmental abuses happening in the first place - by identifying and taking steps to address the risks to human rights and the environment that their activities pose.
It doesn’t matter where in the world they operate – businesses based in the UK need to make absolutely sure that they are not putting people's lives and our common home at risk, and they must be held accountable when they are.