Beyond Persecution?

The global oil giant, BP, has reached a multi-million pound out-of-court settlement with a group of Colombian farmers after they brought a legal action against the company in Britain. They alleged that Exploration Company (Colombia) "benefited from harassment and intimidation meted out by Colombian paramilitaries employed by the government" to guard a 450-kilometre long pipeline from the Cusiana-Cupiagua oilfields. "Marta Hinestroza, one of the farmers' lawyers, fled Colombia for Britain when she discovered that her name was on a paramilitary hit list. In November 2002, the Home Office granted Ms Hinestroza political asylum after she told of the threats she faced while working in the region," The Independent reports.