THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) CALLS ON TALISMAN ENERGY TO HALT ACTIVITIES IN SUDAN
The pressure on Talisman just increased by several notches, as the Parliament of the European Union has passed a resolution that will be forwarded to the ACP-EU Council, as well as to Talisman and its Greater Nile partners, and EU governments with oil companies contemplating an entrance into Sudan.
“[The European Parliament] calls on international oil companies working in Sudan, such as Talisman Energy Inc. of Canada, to halt their operations as long as abductions of children and slavery continues and a peaceful solution has not been found to the [Sudan] conflict; calls on EU companies to refrain from oil investments in Sudan and urges the EU Member States to exert their influence to this effect.”
Eric Reeves [July 11, 2000]
Smith College 413-585-3326
Northampton, MA 01063
The resolution comes in the context of the Parliament’s response to the Government of Sudan’s ongoing support for one of the most obscenely cruel terrorist groups in the world, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which operates out of northern Uganda, with sanctuary in southern Sudan courtesy of the Khartoum regime (Talisman’s business partner). A list of defining atrocities, focussing mainly on the terrible abuse of children, is contained in the full resolution of the EU Parliament (attached below).
The signal to oil companies operating in Sudan, or contemplating an entrance, couldn’t be clearer. It is a direct rebuke of Talisman’s absurd and disingenuous rationale for staying, and a decisive warning to those (e.g., TotalFinaElf) who have been mentioned as possible buyers of Talisman’s 25% stake in the Greater Nile project. It is noteworthy that the resolution “urges the EU Member States to exert their influence to this effect [i.e., preventing EU companies from investing in oil development in Sudan].”
What does this do to Buckee’s wish list of buyers for the Sudan stake???
There is a larger message here for Talisman and the callously disingenuous Mr. Buckee: your presence in Sudan continues to gain an ever-larger profile, with more and more destructive consequences for share price. Expect to see more such resolutions, and legislative responses, and nationally representative denunciations of Talisman. There will be opprobrium without end!
Buckee once dismissed opposition to the Sudan venture as “background noise.” Well, take a look around, Jim: the “background” is everywhere—and shouldering its way ever more insistently to the “foreground” of the world’s conscience.
Talisman will be hounded relentlessly—by human rights groups, by advocates from the faith communities, by legislation, by resolutions of Parliament, by ordinary folks—until they withdraw from Sudan.
Divestment pressures continue to grow in direct relation to the visibility of Talisman’s morally outrageous complicity with the Government of Sudan, its business partner and “security provider.” And as the nature of that savagely destructive “security” becomes more widely known, the link between Talisman and genocidal destruction of the peoples of southern Sudan becomes more obvious.
This will not “blow over”; there is no “riding out the storm.” On the contrary, the storm of outrage continues to gather force. It will destroy Talisman in the equity markets if the company does not withdraw from Sudan.
Resolution of the Parliament of the European Union (EU):
On the abduction of children by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)
The European Parliament,
* Having regard to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, its Optional Protocols, the 1999 ILO Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the 1977 Additional Protocols
to the Geneva Conventions,
* Recalling its previous resolutions on child soldiers,
Considering that an armed rebellion has been raging in Northern Uganda since 1986, under the present name of the Lord1s Resistance Army (LRA);
B. Considering that the LRA is armed by the Sudanese government army, which also provides it with food and logistical support, as a counter-move for the support of the Ugandan government to the SPLA;
C. Considering that, according to UNICEF, the LRA has abducted at least 14,000 children, as young as seven years old, in Northern Uganda, particularly in the districts of Gulu and Kitgum; whereas about 5000 children have since returned
or escaped and thousands remain unaccounted for, of which not more than 2000 are reportedly still alive;
D. Considering that these children are taken to camps in South Sudan from where they are sent to fight both the Ugandan government army in the Uganda territory and the Sudan People1s Liberation Army (SPLA) in South Sudan;
E. Considering that the children abducted by the LRA are subjected to extremes of brutality and are forced to conduct a reign of terror against their own people -the Acholi population- by killing innocent people or by cutting off limbs, ears and lips, the total number of deaths estimated at over 100,000 and the total number of displaced people at present at over 300,000;
F. Considering that the girls are often submitted to sexual abuse and brutality by the LRA-commanders, the best documented case being the girls of Aboke;
G. Considering that thousands of children have already died in captivity, from hunger and disease, during the fighting or beaten and stabbed to death as punishment for those who tried to escape;
H. Whereas a Peace Accord between Uganda and Sudan was signed in Nairobi on 8 December 1999, which included among other things a commitment by the Sudanese government to stop its support to the LRA and guarantee the safe return of the
Ugandan abducted children held in rebel camps in Sudan;
Whereas the political will to implement the Peace Accord has been lacking on both sides, both countries have continued to support each other’s armed rebels, and very few abducted children have been returned by Sudan;
J. Whereas despite the Nairobi Peace Accord some 300 children have again been abducted by LRA rebels since the beginning of this year, according to Unicef, of which 143 have escaped;
K. Whereas an amnesty law was approved by the Ugandan Parliament on 6 December 1999, its implementation being seriously delayed; whereas LRA leader Joseph Kony has already rejected the amnesty but some of his soldiers have applied for
L. Whereas LRA representatives are allowed to collect funds, make public statements and operate freely from the territory of the EU, and have been travelling unhindered within the EU and between the EU and Sudan;
1. Strongly condemns the continuing abduction of children in Northern Uganda by the LRA and the subsequent use of these children in armed combat, which is a flagrant violation of several UN Conventions and international humanitarian law;
2. Calls on the government of Sudan to stop supporting the Lord’s Resistance Army and to cooperate in the immediate and unconditional release of all the abducted children, as stipulated in the Nairobi Peace Accord;
3. Condemns the fact that, in Sudan, the use of child soldiers and the enslavement of children continues, and supports the action plan put forward by UNICEF to eradicating these practices;
4. Calls on the government of Sudan to consider the issue of the abducted children as a humanitarian issue and separate it from the larger political issues in the region;
5. Calls on the government of Sudan to allow free and full access by humanitarian organisations such as ICRC and UNICEF to the LRA camps to ascertain the identities of the abducted children and ensure their safe return to their home communities;
6. Calls on the government of Uganda to continue efforts to find a peaceful solution for the conflict in Northern Uganda and to speed up the implementation of the Amnesty Act despite the rejection of LRA-leader Joseph Kony;
7. Calls on all parties involved in the conflict in Sudan to resume talks to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in South Sudan;
8. ******Calls on international oil companies working in Sudan, such as Talisman Energy Inc. of Canada, to halt their operations as long as abductions of children and slavery continues and a peaceful solution has not been found to the conflict; calls on EU companies to refrain from oil investments in Sudan and urges the EU Member States to exert their influence to this effect;******
9. Calls on the Council to assume a more active role in urging the implementation of the Nairobi Peace Accord;
10. Calls on the Commission to support all efforts to rehabilitate and reintegrate the returning children and to support the affected communities in Northern Uganda;
11. Calls on the Council to support initiatives that prohibit the use of child soldiers and urges the ratification of the optional protocol of the UN Convention of the rights of children, setting 18 as the minimum age for recruitment of soldiers;
12. Calls on individual EU Member States to ban LRA operations and travelling of LRA representatives within the EU and between EU Member States and non-EU Nations;
13. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the ACP-EU Council, UNICEF, international oil companies working in Sudan, and the governments of Uganda and Sudan.