We Call on the Bangladesh Government to Implement Phulbari Verdict, Take Legal Actions Against GCM Resources, and End Coal Power Now!

Memorandum of 15th Phulbari Day Remembrance Rally, 26 August 2021

Bangladesh High Commission, London

28 Queens Gate, SW7 5JA.

We are here as transnational climate justice campaigners, representatives of Phulbari communities from Northwest Bangladesh, and anti-racist and anti-mining activists, to express our concern about the delay in implementation of the Phulbari Verdict, the banning of coal mining and coal-power in Bangladesh.

This 26th August marks the 15th anniversary of the Phulbari killings when three young people were shot dead and more than two hundred injured during a non-violent demonstration of 80,000 people who marched against coal mining in Phulbari and the displacement of 130,000 people from the region by London-listed Asia Energy, thereafter GCM Resources. The day has nationally been called Phulbari Day since. Powerful resistance in the aftermath of the shooting in Phulbari has put a 15-year long halt to the project. Following the killing of the three young people the Bangladesh government signed a contract with the people in Phulbari on 30th August, 2006. The contract, nationally known as the Phulbari Verdict, suggested that the government would ban coal mining in Bangladesh. The government thus overturned GCM’s right to operate in Bangladesh.

Despite lacking a valid contract for mining, GCM Resources plc (GCM) is selling shares on the UK’s share market. The company is currently listed as a mining company on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). They have extended mining contracts with two China based companies and they are selling shares in London in the name of a “Phulbari coal project”, a project which does not exist. This is an insult to the affected communities who lost their children in the violence in Phulbari. Selling these shares is also unfair to all Bangladeshi and transnational climate justice campaigners.  

GCM does not hold any valid licence to operate in Phulbari and does not have permission for mining anywhere else in the world. The Bangladesh government is fully aware of GCM’s fraudulent activities. Speaking in August 2019 to the Prothom Alo newspaper, Nasrul Hamid, the Deputy State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources in Bangladesh said:

Even in the absence of an agreement, GCM or Asia Energy is trading shares in London by providing information that coal would be extracted from Phulbari, which is false. The government has taken this into notice. The government is proceeding to take legal action against them.”

We have previously written about this to the Chief Executive of London Stock Exchange and we proposed a meeting to discuss the matter in 2016, 2019, and 2020. The London Stock Exchange wrote to Phulbari Solidarity Group on 1 September 2020 that AIM was looking into the matter. But there has been no progress since.

It is time for the Bangladesh High Commission to act on this. The High Commissioner of Bangladesh in the UK should take action and write to the London Stock Exchange, telling them to de-list GCM immediately. The government of Bangladesh overturned GCM’s right to operate in Bangladesh more than a decade ago, and wanted to take legal action in August 2019. It has been two years since. Government delay in taking legal action against the company allows GCM to sell shares on the basis of a fake project, Phulbari coal mine, in London’s share market. The Bangladesh government should take urgent action to prevent this from happening. The government should implement the Phulbari Day Verdict urgently.

Instead of implementing the Phulbari Verdict, the government is implementing four destructive coal-fired projects across the country. Despite nationwide and international outrages and outreach to the government to save the Sundarbans, the government is moving ahead with the 1,320 MW Rampal coalpowerplant planned for construction near the Sundarbans in Bangladesh. We understand that Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Ltd (BIFPCL) is planning this project and a joint venture between National Thermal Power Company (NTPC) of India and the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) is going ahead, enabling an additional 154 industrial constructions to be built in southwest Bangladesh near the Sundarbans.

Likewise, the government is failing people across Cox’s Bazar coastal area in Southeast Bangladesh. The plans for the construction of a Japan-financed coal-power-plant, Matarbari Phase 2, in Matarbari will ruin livelihoods of communities, destroy three-cops land, pollute water resources, and harm ecosystems essential for farmers and fishermen and women in villages across the Cox’s Bazar. The government is also letting another China-funded coal-power-plant, a 1,224 MW coal-power-plant (currently under construction), in Bashkhali in Chittagong near Cox’s Bazar where seven plant workers were killed for protesting to receive their due wages earlier this year. Two Chinese firms – SEPCOIII Electric Power and HTG – are financing US$1.75 billion of the plants’ estimated $2.4 billion cost. This is happening via a US$1.739 billion loan from the Exim Bank of China. Previously five more people were killed for protesting against the same coal-power-plant in 2016 and 2017. Several companies are involved in the Bashkhali coal-power-plant constructions and killings. These include S Alam Group, PowerChina, and S.S. Power I Ltd. The latest incident of violence and murders on the premises of S.S. Power I Ltd. happened on 17 April. This cannot go on.

The government is also looking into other coal mining options in other regions in Bangladesh. In between, the government has allowed police to torture people in Parbatipur, for protesting against the Barapukuria shaft mining, within the neighbourhood of Phulbari. The mine workers in Barapukuria were protesting a pay gap by a Chinese company in 2011. Currently the government is looking into options for reopening Barapukuria mine through open cast mining. This is a complete violation of the Phulbari Verdict 2006.

We demand the Bangladesh government implement the Phulbari Verdict fully, immediately,  take legal action against GCM, and ban coal-power.

We call on the Bangladeshi government to urgently:

1.  Ban coal mining and fully implement the Phulbari Verdict.

2.  Take legal action against GCM Resources, urgently.

3.  Write to London Stock Exchange Plc. and the UK government informing them that the Phulbari coal project does not exist, and that GCM is cheating on the share market.

4.   Withdraw from the move to build coal-power plants near the Sundarbans and Bashkhali, and all coal projects in Matarbari and anywhere in Bangladesh.

5.  Stop plans to build Barapukuria open cast coal mine, stop the Barapukuria Coal Mine Company Ltd.  Corporate, and compensate Barapukuria coal mine workers who were tortured in  2013 and 2014.

6.  Consult the Alternative Power and Energy Plan for Bangladesh as a way forward for meeting energy needs of the country.

We ask the High Commissioner to convey our demand to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and demand that the government respond to our call immediately.


We the undersigned:*

1.   Rumana Hashem, Coordinator, Phulbari Solidarity Group.

2.   Richard Solly, Coordinator, London Mining Network.

3.   Kofi Mawuli Klu, External Coordinator, Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network.

4.   Sanjit Prasad Jitu, Spokesman, Phulbari Chapter of National Committee of Bangladesh.

5.   Mafizur Rahman Laltu, Coordinator, Biborton, Dhaka.

6.   Sumana Nandi, International Coordinator, XR Affinity Network of Asia (XRANA).

7.   Aminul Haque, Spokesperson, Phulbari Krishak Mukti Songram.

8.   Abdul Razzak, Convenor, National Democratic Workers Federation.

9.   Alfredo Quarto, Program & Policy Director/ Co-founder, Mangrove Action Project, USA.

10.  Alauddin, President, Phulbari Construction Workers Union.

11.  Alejandra Piazzolla, Spokesperson, Extinction Rebellion Youth.

12.   Angela Ditchfield, Director, Christian Climate Action.

13.  Anne Harris, Campaigner, Coal Action Network (UK).

14.  Alex Burton, Spokesperson, Global Justice Bloc.

15.  Baccu Islam, President,  Phulbari Upazilla Garments Workers Union.

16.  Bappy Das, Tabla Teacher of Surobani Songgit School.

17.  Danielle DeLuca, Advocacy and Development Manager, Gerente,  Recaudación de Fondos y Programa de Defensa, Cultural Survival, USA.

18.  Dr Samina Luthfa, Spokesperson, Sarbajan Katha, Dhaka.

19.  Esther Stanford-Xosei, Coordinator General,  Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide

20.  Fe Haslam, Co-Principal Organising Secretary, Global Justice Forum.

21.  Hamidul Haque, President, Phulbari Kuli (day Labourers) Workers Union.

22.  Hasan Mehedi, Member Secretary, Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED).

23.  Himel Mondal, Coordinator, National Gonofront.

24.  Jargis Ahamed, President, Cable Operators Association, Phulbari.

25.  Joy Prokash Gupta, Phulbari Kali Mondir Committee.

26.  Julie Begum, Chair, Swadhinata Trust, UK.

27.  Mahamud Alam Liton, Mayor of Phulbari Municipal. Dinajpur.

28.  Manik Sarkar, Mayor of Municipal (Former), Phulbari Municipal.

29.  Nils Agger, Co-founder, Extinction Rebellion

30.  Nicholas Garica, Coordinator, Extinction Rebellion Slough.

31.  Nurul Islam Fokir, General Secretary,  Phulbari Rickshaw Van Workers Union.

32.  Peter Burgess, PhD Candidate, King’s College London.

33. Rowan McLaughlin, South Tees Green Party, UK.

34.  Sara Callaway, Coordinator, Women of Colour and Global Women Strike.

35.  Sara Cordovez, Co-founder, Extinction Rebellion Youth Solidarity.

36.  Samarendra Das, Chair, Foil Vedanta.

37. Saiful Islam Jewel, Convenor, Phulbari Chapter of National Committee of Bangladesh.

38.  Shakoat Hossain, General Secretary, Phulbari Dokam Employees Union (Local Business and Entrepreneurs Association in Phulbari).

39.  Shafiul Islam, President, Phulbari  Upazilla Decorator Workers Union.

40.  SM Nuruzzaman, General Secretary, Trade Union Center Of Dinajpur.

41.  Syed Samiul Islam Shohel, Councillor of Phulbari Municipal.

42. Syed Enamul Islam, Co-ordinator, European Action Group on Climate Change in Bangladesh.

*Note: Names of signatories do not follow alphabetical order. Signatures are added as and when signatories signed the letter online.

Press Release: Protest Held at Bangladesh High Commission on 15th Phulbari Day

Protest outside of Bangladesh High Commission in London on 26 August 2021. Photocredit: Fe Haslam

41 Climate Justice Organisations Called on the Bangladesh Government to Implement Phulbari Verdict, Take Legal Actions Against GCM Resources, and End Coal Power.

Some XR Youth Solidarity activists make placards outside the Bangladesh High Commission for Phulbari Solidarity. Photo credit: London Mining Network

On Thursday 26 August, a large number of transnational anti-mining and climate justice campaigners held a 2-hour long protest outside the Bangladesh High Commission in London, where they honoured the victims of the Phulbari Massacre, where three young people were killed and hundreds injured protesting British financed coal mine. From the Remembrance rally, marking the 15th anniversary of the Phulbari Day, 41 climate justice organisations called on the High Commissioner to push for the delisting of GCM Resources from the London Stock Exchange and the banning of new coal projects in Bangladesh.  Despite advance email request for an appointment with the High Commissioner, the High Commissioner refused to meet the London Mining Network, Phulbari Solidarity Group and Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Network activists.

The rally in London was organised by the Phulbari Solidarity Group and London Mining Network, with support from Foil Vedanta, Fossil Free London, Bibortan, Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network, Global Justice Bloc, Extinction Rebellion Youth Solidarity,  and Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike.

Activists from XR Youth UK, Global Justice Bloc, and Fossil Free London joined the Phulbari Solidarity Group and London Mining Network, and occupied the entrance of the Bangladesh High Commission for two hours from 10:30AM to 12:35PM. The rally marked the 15th anniversary of the Phulbari Massacre. The gathered activists laid sunflowers, candles, and held banners outside the High Commission, accompanied by mournful cello music by XR Youth Solidarity artist, Clary. The memorandum to Bangladesh High Commissioner was shared and read out loudly by seven activists, led by Rumana Hashem, the coordinator of the Phulbari Solidarity Group and eyewitness to the 2006 massacre. A three minute silence was held in memory of  Al Amin, Mohammad Saleqin and Tarikul Islam. These three, aged 11,13 and 18 respectively were killed on 26 August 2006 when a paramilitary force opened fire during a  nonviolent demonstration of an estimated 80,000 people against the eviction of 130,000 people in Phulbari  to make way for a 572-million ton open cast coal mine. More than 200 other demonstrators were injured.

A handpainted balck banner with sunflowers and candles on either side laid on the ground outside the Bangladesh High Commission by PSGBD in memory of Al Amin, Salekin and Tariqul, who were killed in 2006. Photocredit: Saul Jones.

Extinction Rebellion Youth Solidarity activists held a placard making session outside the High Commission building, stressing the link between young activists and climate justice struggles. A delegation of 5 organisers of the rally requested to meet with MS Saida Muna Tasneem, the High Commissioner for Bangladesh, in order to deliver a memorandum signed by 41 climate justice organisations. This memorandum demand that the High Commissioner put pressure on the London Stock Exchange to de-list GCM Resources, and stress the importance of implementing the Phulbari Verdict, which would ban new coal projects in Bangladesh, to the Bangladeshi Prime Minister. The delegation was denied access to the building as the High Commissioner refused to meet.

First Officer to the High Commissioner receives the memorandum from the protesters. Photocredit: Saul Jones

While activists were disappointed that the High Commissioner did not have time to meet with them, her First Officer has come to the steps of the office to accept the letter on behalf of Ms Tasneem. The First Officer appeared apologetic and repeatedly emphasised that he will make sure a meeting with the representatives of the organising groups and the High Commissioner will be arranged at a later date. Activists said that they were hurt by the fact that High Commissioner did not have interest in meeting with global climate activists on Phulbari Day. Short speeches were given by Richard Solly, network coordinator of London Mining Network, Sara Cordovez of Extinction Rebellion Youth Solidarity, and placards were read loudly by XR YouthUK activists. Activists said that they will come back to this venue until the day the Phulbari Verdict is implemented.

 Rumana Hashem , the co-ordinator of Phulbari Solidarity Group  and an

eye-witness to Phulbari shooting said:

I am sad that the High Commissioner did not make time for us on  a sensitive issue on Phulbari Day. Bangladesh High Commission is fully aware that the London Stock Exchange is hosting a company that is responsible for gross human rights violations and that does not have a valid license for business in Bangladesh. But they are not taking action to prevent this crime. I have witnessed GCM’s violence in Phulbari. 15 years on, the company continues to grab money by selling deceitful shares on Phulbari’s name. The company does not hold any valid asset to operate in Phulbari and does not have permission for mining anywhere in the world. The Bangladesh’s state minister stated that the government will take legal action against GCM. That was in 2019. Its’ been two years since.  We have written to LSE’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officers twice, and submitted evidence showing that GCM is involved in fraudulent business at LSE. It is now the High Commission and Bangladesh Government who should take action.”

Rumana Hashem of PSGBD holds a poster made by the Youths of Phulbari Public Library showing women are shouting at para-military men during curfew after the shooting in the evening of 26 August 2006. Photocredit: Fe Haslam.

Of the campaign to de-list GCM, Richard Solly, Network Coordinator of London Mining Network, said:

“Since LMN was launched in 2007, we have supported the struggle against the Phulbari project. It is utter madness for GCM to keep pressing on with a new opencast coal project which would displace tens of thousands of people dependent on rural occupations, with no guarantee that they could find alternative work, and at a time when we know we have to stop burning coal anyway. UK authorities should not allow London share markets to be used to finance this kind of destructive project. GCM should be delisted.”

In the afternoon, 200 protesters from across the world joined the campaigners at a Live streamed witness and solidarity event hosted by the Phulbari Solidarity Group, Bibortan Cultural Group, and London Mining Network on zoom, where speakers from Phulbari communities and Bangladesh National Committee were joined by Women of Colour, Foil Vedanta and London Mining Network. Artists and eco-feminists from Bibortan cultural group performed Bengali songs and music for Phulbari resistance, save the Sunderbans and ecological struggles. The event ended by reading the Phulbari Verdict 2006, the original agreement with the government and the communities in resistance, which was signed by Anu Muhammad and the Mayor of Dinajpur, Mizanur Rahman Minu on 30 August, 2006. Rumana Hashem read the agreement.

Placard made by XR Youth Solidarity activist in solidarity with Phulbari communities in resistance. Photocredit: Saul Jones

Sara Calaway, Co-founder of Women of Colour, said:

The determined resistance of women in particular halted plans for a devastating coal mine. People of Phulbari — women, men and children, are acting also for us and we must act with them.  Our thoughts are with the families of the children shot dead by paramilitaries, and those injured. These brutal attacks did not to stop protests.  Women, as often happens, were central — on marches, road blocks, and even courageously chasing away paramilitaries with brooms and cooking utensils to protect lives.  Your strength is an inspiration to us all.  We will publicise your struggle especially during the weeks of climate action to end polluters – we must abolish multi-national polluters to save the planet and ourselves. 

Grassroots women are the carers everywhere. They and all carers for people and planet deserve a income to strengthen our struggle and win.  Power to Phulbari, India’s farmers, Haiti, Burma, Marikana and all organising for justice and to save our planet! From Women of Colour GWS & International Global Women’s Strike: UK, India, Ireland, Peru, Thailand, USA.

Sara Cordovez of Extinction Rebellion Youth Solidarity said:

As XR Youth Solidarity, we stand with the Phulbari Solidarity Group in marking the 15th anniversary of the Phulbari Day shooting. For us at XR Youth Solidarity, Phulbari Day represents the undeniable link between people and planet: our global fossil-fuel addicted economy is killing people, directly and indirectly, and driving us towards the ecological and climate collapse, while leaving communities like Phulbari to mourn for the youth that stood against this fate. We stand united against GCM and emphatically condemn their continued listing in the London Stock Exchange.”

Colombian mining activist Sara Cordovez of XR Youth Solidarity holds her third hand written placard outside of Bangladesh High Commission London on 26 August 2021. Photocredit: Rumana Hashem, PSG.

Speaking from Bangladesh, Professor Anu Muhammad , Member Secretary of the  central National Committee to Protect Natural Resources said:

This is unbelievable that a fraud company like GCM which has no credibility even as a business house, rather it has blood in its hands, lies in their leaps, falsehood in their papers, poison in their activities- still enjoying support from British establishment to continue with these. This company has been cheating people in share business to make money in the name of Phulbari where they were behind killing people, on which they have no valid license, where they tried to implement a disastrous project, from where they were driven out in 2006 by a mass uprising and never allowed to enter.

Since 2006, in all these years they have been trying to  incite violence in the area, tried to mobilize criminals against community leaders, made false cases against them, but could not enter into the area. Peoples resistance remains strong. These frauds should also be driven out by British institutions including LSE. We are looking forward to seeing the trial of these criminals in Dhaka and London .”

Extinction Rebellion Youth Solidarity activists hold their hadwritten placards wtih cello outside of Bangladesh High Commission in London on Phulbari Day on 26 August. Photocredit: Rumana Hashem

Join Remembrance Rally Mark the 15th anniversary of the Phulbari Massacre

Join Remembrance Rally Mark the 15th anniversary of the Phulbari Massacre

Today, Thursday 26 August, marks the 15th anniversary of coal murders in Phulbari where three young people Al Amin (11), Mohammad Saleqin (13), and Tarikul Islam (18) were shot dead for protesting against a 600MW open cast coal mine in 2006. More than two hundred people were injured in a non-violent demonstration of 80,000 people who marched against London-listed mining company, GCM Resources Plc. GCM wants to build a massive open cast coal mine by forcibly displacing 130,000 people, to extract coals for 30 years from Bangladesh’s only flood protected location, Phulbari. The day is nationally known as Phulbari Day since the murders of Al Amin, Saleqin and Tarikul.

Powerful resistance by women, children, indigenous men, farmers, workers and teachers and students against the coal project has put 15-year long halt to the mining project in the aftermath of the shooting. The Bangladesh government has declined all contracts with GCM in 2007. But the company is selling shares in London share market in the name of Phulbari coal mine. Despite having no valid contract with Bangladesh, they are moving ahead with their devastating plans. GCM continues its dodgy deals for 15 years. They announced extensions of a joint venture agreement with PowerChina and the MoU with NFC by 12 months, and recruited a local agency called the DG Infratech Pte Ltd, a Bangladesh based agency to lobby with the government. GCM is hosted by the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investors Market (AIM).

Today we are going to the Bangladesh High Commission in London to report this and to pay tribute to the victims of Phulbari Day. We demand that the Bangladesh High Commissioner should tell the London Stock Exchange to de-list GCM immediately. The LSE has the power to suspend or expel a company from AIM for breach of the AIM rules. Despite our repeated calls to investigate GCM’s rights to business, the LSE is reluctant to do so.

JOIN US at 10:30AM on Thursday 26 August!

Wear A BLACK Mask!

Wear BLACK  clothes!

Bring along your own HAND WRITTEN placards!

The rally is organised by the Phulbari Solidarity Group and London Mining Network with support from Foil Vedanta, Fossil Free London, Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network UK, Global Justice Bloc, Women of Colour, and XR Affinity Network of Asia. In this Black August, we will pay tribute to Amin, Saleqin and Tarikul with sun flowers, candles, music. We will read our joint statement together to de-list GCM.

Join us!

If the mine is built, 130,000 families of farmers in Phulbari would be displaced, 14,600 hectares of highly cultivable land would be destroyed (1 hectare =2.58 acres). Clean water resources be threatened. One of the world’s largest mangrove forests, the Sunderbans, would be damaged. In return GCM offers only 6 percent tax to the government. They plan to export 94 percent of 572 million tons high quality coal. They would enjoy 9-year tax holiday. After extracting coal for 36+ years, all of the remainder coal would be owned by the company and be exported.

Communities in Phulbari are holding silent vigils and commemorative rallies across the region. Civil societies in Dhaka, Dinajpur and Phulbari will be joined by the Phulbari Solidarity Group and London Mining Network in online protests and witness sessions, demanding the government bans coal mining and take legal action against GCM. We stand in solidarity with the affected communities in Phulbari and demand the London Stock Exchange must de-list GCM. We also demand that the Bangladesh Government bans mining and all coal power plant constructions, and takes urgent legal action against GCM.

Come with your friends and family to pay tribute together to the victims of the Phulbari massacre.

Contact for further information: +44 7309 555950, +447767757645.
Email: contact@londonminingnetwork.org, phulbarisolidaritygroup@gmail.com.