In a statement issued at the conclusion of their 93rd Plenary Assembly on July 13, the bishops said they would continue to work with the nation in seeking “truth and justice in service to life, and to support constructive dialogue and discourage violence.”
The bishops said they were aware of the concerns and the hopes of the communities where mining projects are currently under way and those where projects and proposals are still being studied.
They called for “a new model of development that has respect for the dignity of the human person and his fundamental rights at the center and that responds to present-day needs and ensures sustainability for future generations.”
This model should have “moral and ethical parameters” to ensure that Colombia is a country that “responds to the needs of the entire population and cares for the creation God has given us, so that we administer it with responsibility,” the bishops continued.
Colombia is “a country with great agricultural, ranching and mining richness,” they said, and therefore it demands “development that is sustainable and truly human.”
The bishops criticized illegal mining, which hurts the country and does damage to the rain forest, “which is the lung of our planet.”
The Colombian government should establish modern and fair mining laws that “ensure human development” and firmly address “the uncontrolled destruction of the environment,” they said.
At the same time, the bishops urged the government to “develop technologies and methods of mining that are friendly to the environment.”
Laws should also be enacted to ensure that the energy resources gained from mining are invested in national and regional development in a just and equitable way, the bishops said.
They reminded citizens of their duty to administer creation with responsibility and to be “actively committed to achieving development that is environmental friendly.”
The Bishops' Conference of Colombia has committed to work for comprehensive and sustainable development in Colombia together with “the State, the mining industry and the Colombian people.”