Museum protest over BP human rights record
Campaigners target oil giant over murder and abduction allegations
Last week campaigners staged a protest in the BP-sponsored British Museum over the oil company's links to paramilitaries in Colombia.
Protest at British Museum, Photo credit: BP or not BP.
Gilberto Torres, a Colombian trade unionist and former oil engineer, is currently visiting the UK to tell people about his ordeal and the role of big oil companies in human rights violations in Latin America.
According to Jess Worth of campaign group BP or not BP Gilberto is one of only two trade unionists to ever survive being ‘disappeared’ by Colombian death squads. He was abducted and tortured by paramilitaries that he alleges were in the pay of Ocensa, in which BP was a partner.
"When I was kidnapped I knew what was going to happen to me. I knew I was going to be murdered and left by the side of some road. But thanks to people’s solidarity, both national and international, to an oil workers’ 24-day strike, and to demonstrations by communities in Colombia and human rights organizations, I was not executed. Instead, I was held for 42 days, then finally released."
Gilberto is now taking legal action against BP in the UK courts for the company’s role in his ordeal.
"I believe that British justice will rule in my favour, not only in favour of myself, but also in favour of justice, in favour of this not happening again. And, as a person who has been kidnapped, who has suffered and has been on the edge of death, I am here to tell the public in London, and those who make the laws: please legislate. Pass a law that prosecutes the human rights violations committed by corporations from this country, in this case BP."
Gilberto is in the UK for the ‘Oil Justice Now’ tour, organised with War on Want, to raise money and awareness about his case against BP, and other oil companies. He will be in London, Brighton, Bristol, Oxford, Cardiff, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Cambridge. Please go and see him if you can.
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