Swedish oil firm blamed for war crimes in Sudan - Global Witness hopes oil revenue may pave the way for peace in Darfur
Swedish oil firm blamed for war crimes in Sudan
Report from The Swedish Wire - Tuesday, 08 June 2010; 12:56
Author: AFP / The Swedish Wire:
ECOS, an umbrella group of European organisations "working for peace and justice in Sudan", said it believed Lundin and its consortium partners Petronas Carigali Overseas from Malaysia and OMV Exploration from Austria "may have been complicit in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity" in Sudan.- - -
Lundin Petroleum, previously called Lundin Oil, denied the allegations.
The 100-page report said Lundin's consortium, which also included the Sudanese state-owned oil company Sudapet, had signed a contract with Khartoum for oil exploitation in a concession area called Block 5A in the south "that was not at that time under full government control".
"The start of oil exploitation set off a vicious war in the area. Between 1997 and 2003, international crimes were committed on a large scale in what was essentially a military campaign by the government of Sudan to secure and take control of the oil fields in Block 5A," it charged.
The crimes -- including widespread "killing of civilians, rape of women, abduction of children, torture and forced displacements" -- were mainly committed by the Sudanese army and its main opponent the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).
The ECOS report, written with the support of European Union-funded NGO-network Fatal Transactions, however argued that the Lundin consortium had set the wheels in motion by signing its contract with Khartoum "without any guarantees that human rights and international law would be respected".
The report also charged that the Swedish, Austrian and Malaysian governments had "failed in their international obligations to prevent human rights violations and international crimes".
It called on them to investigate whether the consortium members knew or should have known that their activities "assisted those who were responsible for gross human rights abuses".
According to ECOS, some 12,000 people were killed or died from hunger, exhaustion and conflict-related diseases in the Block 5A from 1997 to 2003, while around 160,000 people were forcibly displaced.
In an open letter to Lundin Petroleum shareholders posted on the company's website, Chairman Ian Lundin insisted the report presented no new evidence of any wrongdoings, pointing out the company had refuted similar charges in the past.
"We again categorically refute all the allegations and inferences of wrongdoing attributed to Lundin Petroleum in the report. We strongly feel that our activities contributed to peace and development in Sudan," he wrote.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 08 June 2010 14:34)
UNPAID DEBT The Legacy of Lundin, Petronas and OMV in Sudan, 1997-2003
Copy of press release from ECOS published Tuesday, 08 June 2010:
ECOS calls for Oil Company Investigation Over Sudanese Human Rights Abuses
A group of aid agencies that worked in Sudan during the civil war, reporting together as the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS), have called for an investigation into the role played by a consortium of oil companies in the conflict and their possible complicity in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
ECOS’ report, UNPAID DEBT: The Legacy of Lundin, Petronas and OMV in Sudan, 1997-2003, says that the start of oil exploration in Block 5A in Southern Sudan set off a spiral of violence as the Sudanese government and forces loyal to them set out to secure and take control of the oil fields in that block. Thousands of inhabitants died, and almost 200,000 people were violently displaced.
Atrocities included killings, rape, child abduction, torture, the destruction of schools, markets and clinics and the burning of food, huts and animal shelters. Thousands died, and almost 200,000 people were violently displaced.
The terror began after the Sudanese government signed an oil exploration contract with a consortium comprising Swedish company Lundin Oil AB, Petronas Carigali Overseas from Malaysia, OMV (Sudan) Exploration GmbH from Austria, and the Sudanese company Sudapet Ltd.
The oil consortium, the report says, ‘should have been aware of the abuses committed by the armed groups that partly provided for their security needs. However, they continued to work with the Sudanese government, its agencies and its army’.
Now ECOS is calling on the Swedish, Austrian and Malaysian governments to investigate whether, as a matter of international law, the companies ‘were complicit in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity by others during the period 1997-2003.’
ECOS is calling for the oil companies to recompense survivors of the violence. A material right to compensation for past injustices that occurred as a result of oil exploitation is created in both Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the country’s Interim National Constitution, but no adequate compensation has been received to date.
Lundin, which led the oil consortium, denies that it violated the norms of international law or that it participated in or had, or ought to have had, knowledge of any of the illegal acts that are documented in the report.
It says that it at all times acted in accordance with all applicable local and international laws and its operations have been and continue to be conducted in a manner which seeks to have a positive influence on the country and
people of Sudan.
There should be no more war over oil in Sudan. The parties to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) are discussing arrangements for the future management of the oil industry. These should include compensation, and the oil companies and their home governments can play a key role in bringing that about. Moreover, ECOS contends that it is their duty. A compensation process that will do justice to the victims and is designed to create the conditions for reconciliation and forgiveness, would bring crucial peace dividends and contribute to a much needed environment of trust in the oil-producing areas and beyond.
Therefore, to promote peace and achieve justice for the victims of the oil war in Block 5A, ECOS recommends that:
1. The Governments of Sweden, Austria, and Malaysia investigate the alleged violations of norms of international law by their national oil companies.
2. The Governments of Sweden, Austria, and Malaysia account for their failure to prevent the alleged human rights violations and international crimes.
3. The Governments of Sweden, Austria, and Malaysia ensure appropriate compensation for all persons whose rights have been violated in the course of the war for control over Sudan's oil fields.
4. The international guarantors of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) take urgent initiatives to ensure implementation of the right to compensation as established by the CPA.
5. The members of the Lundin Consortium open all records and fully cooperate with investigations into their role in the reported events.
6. The members of the Lundin Consortium create enabling conditions for reconciliation with victims of the oil war, starting with the allocation of their fair share of compensation for the victims, which ECOS estimates at US$300 million.
7. Investors divest from all companies that do not fully cooperate with investigations into credible allegations of complicity in international crimes or fail to compensate the victims of Sudan’s oil wars pursuant to the terms and conditions of the CPA and the UN Guidelines.
The full report is to be found at www.ecosonline.org from June 8, 10AM CET.
Note to Editors:
The Stockholm launch of the report takes place Tuesday June 8 from 10AM -11.30AM (CET) at Nalen Conference, Hallituskatu 74, Stockholm. Egbert Wesselink presents the ECOS report. Pastors Ramadan Chan Liol, Secretary General of the SCC (Sudanese Council of Churches) and James Koung Ninrew, representing the victims in Unity State, come directly from the Sudan to present the report. Olle Asplund and Percy Bratt, Chair of Civil Rights Defenders, will comment on the legal dimensions of the report. To book interviews contact: Kathelijne Schenkel, +31 64 89 814 98 / email@example.com
The London launch of the report takes place Thursday June 10 from 3.30PM to 4.30PM at Chatham House, 10 St James's Square, London SW1Y 4LE. Speakers will include ECOS Coordinator Egbert Wesselink.
European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS) - ECOS unites 50 European organizations working for peace and justice in Sudan. We do research and call for action from governments and the business sector to ensure that Sudan’s oil wealth contributes to peace and equitable development Read more...
Facts & Figures
New on this site
- UNPAID DEBT The Legacy of Lundin, Petronas and OMV in Sudan, 1997-2003 (text only) (Jun 8, '10)
- UNPAID DEBT The Legacy of Lundin, Petronas and OMV in Sudan, 1997-2003(Jun 7, '10)
- Press release: UNPAID DEBT The Legacy of Lundin, Petronas and OMV in Sudan, 1997-2003 (Jun 6, '10)
- Satellite Mapping of Land Cover and Use in relation to Oil Exploitation in Concession Block 5A in Southern Sudan 1987–2006(Jun 6, '10)
- Global Witness uncovers evidence of oil exploration in Darfur (Jun 5, '10)
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Global Witness Hopes Oil Revenue May Pave The Way For Peace in Darfur
Report from SRS (Sudan Radio Service):
4 June 2010 - (Nairobi) – Global Witness says oil exploration in the north of Darfur in Sudan could provide an incentive for peace if revenues are distributed equally in the area.
Global Witness campaigner Mike Davis said that after an analysis of the area, there was evidence which suggests the presence of oil in block 12A.
He spoke to SRS from London on Thursday.
[Mike Davis]: “What we found through analyzing the satellite images that there is a grid of over 500km of entirely straight lines which are characteristic of a seismic exploration for oil. This occurred between September 2009 and March 2010. We then obtained a much more detailed, close-up image of what appears to be an oil exploration camp in the same area. That image was taken in January this year. The outline of the camp, the vehicles within it, the accommodation huts are all characteristics of an oil exploration site. What we have done is we have contacted the companies concerned, to ask for their views on the block that we have analysed but they have decided not to reply to us.’’
Mike Davis added that it is in the interest of the people of Darfur to know what is going on in the area.
[Mike Davis]: “We think that this is an issue of huge public interest that people who live in Darfur and the whole of Sudan more widely should know about. We also think that it is something that should discussed more widely and quite openly in the context of the peace negotiations between the government and JEM and other rebel groups that are going on in Qatar. Its important and a very positive and useful thing that the potential of oil if it exists in Darfur is addressed directly and it could in fact help the warring parties to focus more closely on how thy can forge an agreement which could be in the best interest of the people of Darfur.”
There is currently a small amount of oil produced in South Darfur, in block 6. Block 12A, the area in the satellite images reviewed by Global Witness is allocated to the Great Sahara Petroleum Operating Company, a consortium of Yemeni, Saudi, Jordanian, Libyan and Sudanese oil companies.