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BP Paid for Colombia's Lawlessness

British oil company BP will pay a compensation to Colombian farmers

British oil company BP will pay a compensation to some 1,000 Colombian farmers who sued for $28m claiming a pipeline the oil giant built endangered their livelihoods.

The suit demanded payment for harassment the farmers suffered at the hands of the far-right paramilitary groups as a result of their opposition to the pipeline.

The suit, which was to have been brought in London?s High Court, alleged that the laying of the Ocensa pipeline, Colombia?s largest, in the 1990s through part of Antioquia state ruined the local residents? livelihoods, which included farming, working in gold mines and fish farms, and raising livestock.

One community leader was killed in an act blamed on the paramilitaries, and a lawyer who represented the farmers fled Colombia after she discovered she was on a paramilitary hit list. She was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom in 2002.

Lawyers for the farmers emphasised that they never accused BP of working with the paramilitaries.