Nestlé: Accused of complicity in murder of Columbian unionist Luciano Romero

This report is part of our former “Harmful Cases” documentation, where we continuously and concisely recorded human rights violations, violations of international law or environmental destruction caused by companies.

Human Rights Violations in Columbia

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) has filed a law suit against the multinational Nestlé at a court in Switzerland. On 10 September 2005, the Columbian unionist Luciano Romero was stabbed to death in Valledupar, Cesar, in Northwestern Columbia by paramilitary groups. Romero had been employed by the Columbian Nestlé affiliate Cicolac Ltda. and was a member of the workers union SINALTRAINAL after his lay-off in 2002.

It is argued that the accused, the Nestlé Corporation itself and several of its leading employees are complicit to the murder of Romero due to gross negligence and omission to act.

Firms operating in Columbia are called upon to adhere to the OECD Risk Awareness Tools for Multinational Enterprises in Weak Governance Zones. Retailers of the Columbian Nestlé affiliate are known to build alliances with paramilitary groups prone to the use of violence. Thus, the management had known of the dangers for Romero and still failed to provide adequate protection.

More background information on the situation of multinationals operating in Columbia and the legal details of the Romero case can be found via the subsequent links:

ECCHR special newsletter (de)

ECCHR legal background report (de)

ECCHR Letter to Nestlé (de)