Security forces and human rights

Security provision issues
Oil and gas industry

BP has conducted oil and gas exploration and production in Colombia since 1987. In 1997, the company faced media allegations of complicity in acts of torture and other ill treatment perpetrated by security forces contracted by the company to protect its oil installations in Colombia.

The Colombian Prosecutor General's office (Fiscalia) investigated and in 1998 found that the allegations against BP were without substance. Reports nevertheless suggest that BP acted to suspend the security chief working for its privately contracted security firm.

Since the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights were adopted by several extractive industry companies, NGOs and governments in December 2000, BP has tried to put them into practice in Colombia. BP has established an agreement with the Colombian government over the provision of armed forces as security providers. The agreement provides a forum for community grievances and is periodically audited.

BP Colombia has also incorporated the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights into contracts with providers of private security, and has introduced codes of conduct to regulate behaviour. During 2002, an internal assurance exercise was conducted to measure levels of compliance with the Principles and provide a future road map. As a result, meetings are now held twice yearly to review compliance with the Voluntary Principles, to update risk assessments, and to analyse the business and human rights situation in Colombia.

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