The campaign against oil development in Sudan has grown dramatically with yesterday’s inauguration of efforts by the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS). Their forcefully articulated goal is to halt oil development and exploration in Sudan pending the negotiation of a just peace. More than 40 European nongovernmental organizations, from many countries and with many sources of commitment, have made a comprehensive series of demands directed at all oil companies operating in Sudan. Notably, this includes the demand that no company “internationally market Sudanese Nile Blend until a just and lasting peace has been agreed.” And to investors in companies involved in, or capitalizing, oil development in Sudan, there is simple message: Divest!
Eric Reeves [May 30, 2001]
Northampton, MA 01063
The launching of efforts by the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan marks a highly significant expansion of the campaign to end the role of oil in the ongoing destruction of Sudan. Their inaugural statement (attached below, with signatories as of May 21) has already been reported prominently by Agence France-Presse and the Associated Press.
This marks the maturation of many months of effort, a fact reflected in the comprehensive accounting of companies operating (or sustaining operations) in Sudan. ECOS has also made a comprehensive series of demands not only of the companies themselves, but of investors in those companies, and of the European countries permitting oil development in Sudan. Their statement also directly addresses banks helping to capitalize oil development in Sudan and to market Sudan’s Nile Blend crude.
Divestment is urged upon individual and institutional shareholders of Talisman Energy, Lundin Oil, OMV Aktiengesellschaft, PetroChina (wholly governed subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corp. [CNPC]), and BP Amoco.
Linked shamefully in the document with the governments of China (CNPC) and Malaysia (Petronas), the Government of Canada is also the focus of a clear exhortation. The Member States of the European Union are charged to “openly encourage the Canadian Government to end Talisman Energy Inc.’s complicity with war and gross and systematic human rights violations in Sudan.”
This is a comprehensive and well-organized European effort to bring a complete halt to oil development, oil exploration, and oil marketing in Sudan pending the negotiation of a just peace. It thus complements perfectly North American efforts to achieve the same goals. Divestment pressures in particular are significantly expanded; they become ever more clearly endowed with the force, moral conviction, and sustainability of the divestment efforts that worked to end the hateful system of apartheid in South Africa.
It is a critical milestone in the efforts to end the role of oil development in the destruction of Sudan
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European Coalition on Oil in Sudan
Tuesday, 29 May 2001 [Brussells]
We, a coalition of European organizations working for peace for Sudan, are calling for action by European governments and oil companies to ensure that Sudan’s oil wealth ceases to fuel war. Oil should bring peace and prosperity to Sudan, but it causes massive human suffering. We invite the oil companies operating in Sudan to become a force for the good and to suspend their operations until there is peace. We urge the European governments to actively discourage investment in Sudan’s oil sector as a necessary step towards peace in the country.
In the oilfields of the Sudan, thousands of civilians have been killed and displaced, their villages burned to the ground. This is how the Government of Sudan ensures a safe way for the international oil companies to extract the country’s natural wealth. Over 200,000 km2 of concessions have so far been leased by foreign oil companies and more are planned. The many hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who live in these vast areas are in constant danger of being bombed and forced away from their villages and ancestral lands.
Since 1983, the civil war in Sudan has led to at least two million dead and four million displaced people. All sides to the conflict are responsible for displacements, but the recent drive for oil is taking the war into new areas. Oil offers Sudan a unique opportunity for peace and development. The country is highly indebted; its population needs health care, education and food security; and most of all, its people needs peace to prosper and oil revenues could be a strong incentive for that. Instead, the oil is fuelling war.
According to Army Spokesman General Mohamed Osman Yasin, Sudan will soon reach self-sufficiency in light, medium and heavy weapons and is already manufacturing ammunition, mortars, tanks and armoured personnel carriers, thanks to oil exploration. Oil also brings to ecological damage through oil spills, caused by military attacks on the pipelines.
Meanwhile, and despite massive forced displacements and the on-going bombing of civil targets, the international isolation of Sudan is ending. The European Union has entered into “critical dialogue” with the Government of Sudan and the country rejoined the IMF. It is very positive that some European governments are pleading for peace and trying to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table, but it is harmful that European governments are simultaneously encouraging companies to invest in the oil industry, or, in the case of Austria, are doing that themselves.
All independent reports show that oil extraction exacerbates the war in Sudan. The main companies currently involved in this business are Lundin OilAB from Sweden/Switzerland, OMV Aktiengesellschaft from Austria, Talisman Energy Inc from Canada, Petronas from Malaysia, and the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) from China. TotalElfFina owns a 120.000 km2
concession in southern Sudan and is trading Sudan Nile Crude. BP is a major investor in PetroChina, a subsidiary of CNPC, and we believe that there is nothing to stop this investment being used to fund CNPC operations in Sudan. ExxonMobil and Shell are selling aviation fuel in Sudan. The latter company recently promised to end servicing the Sudanese airforce, which is responsible for indiscriminate aerial bombing of civilian targets.
We do not believe that European investors want to make a profit from oil that is fuelling war and we trust they will act accordingly.
We have the following requests:
To oil companies engaged in exploration, production, and international marketing of Sudanese oil:
*to immediately suspend their operations until a just and lasting peace has been agreed in the Sudan and until the victims of forced displacements have safely returned to their places of origin;
*to oil companies holding inactive concessions, such as TotalFinaElf
*to abstain from any activities, including seismic work and drilling, until is a just and lasting peace has been agreed in the Sudan;
*to monitor the human rights situation in its concession areas, including the bombing of civilian targets and forced displacements and to publicly denounce abuses that do occur;
*to inform the Government of Sudan that it will not activate its concession until a just and lasting peace has been agreed and all victims of forced displacements from its concession have safely returned to their places of origin.
To all companies:
*not to supply any equipment or services (including financial, technical and others) to the Sudanese oil extraction industry until a just and lasting peace has been agreed;
*not to internationally market Sudanese Nile Blend until a just and lasting peace has been agreed.
To shareholders, pension funds and institutional investors:
*to divest from companies active in Sudan’s oil extracting industry or trading Sudanese Nile Blend, including indirect investors such as BP, if they do not comply with the above requests by the time of the companies’ Annual General Meetings.
*to search, identify and end all existing transactions and financial
operations that are linked with the production and marketing of Sudanese Nile Blend, and not to make any such deals until a just and lasting peace has been agreed in Sudan;
*to decline from financing any company active in the Sudanese oil industry until a just and lasting peace has been agreed in Sudan.
To the Government of Austria
*to exercise its influence (35% of the shares) over OMV Aktiengesellschaft to ensure that this company immediately suspend its operations until a just and lasting peace has been agreed in the Sudan.
To the Government of Sweden
*to take effective measures to ensure that Lundin Oil AB immediately suspend its operations until a just and lasting peace has been agreed in Sudan.
To the Member States of the European Union:
*to ensure that a “Troika” mission will be sent into the oil rich areas of Sudan with a mandate to assess the impact of oil exploitation on the human rights situation, the war and prospects for peace and to prepare for the establishment of a permanent European monitoring capacity in the conflict areas of Sudan. The mission would visit government controlled and non-government controlled areas and would involve suitably qualified specialists and technical experts. It would make specific recommendations to European Union Member States about oil company involvement in Sudan and about ways to bring the sides to the conflict to a successful negotiating position
while respecting the Declaration of Principles of the IGAD peace process;
*to actively discourage investing in the Sudanese oil sector under the current circumstances, including a refusal to provide export credit cover or overseas Embassy facilitation for companies wishing to do such business until a just and lasting peace has been agreed in Sudan;
*to promote a EU temporary investment ban on European company investment in the Sudanese oil sector and to close its borders to Sudanese Nile Blend until a just and lasting peace has been agreed in Sudan;
*to set benchmarks for its dialogue with the government of Sudan, which should include full and unimpeded access to the oil areas for independent researchers, unambiguous human rights performance indicators and full respect for international humanitarian law. The benchmarks should have a special focus on the oil rich regions and the war zones, effectively address the issue of safe return of all victims of forced displacements, and comprise criteria for oil revenue management;
*to regularly and transparently evaluate its dialogue with the Government of Sudan;
*to put its concerns about the impact of CNPC’s activities in Sudan on peace and human rights high on the agenda of Europe’s human rights dialogue with China;
*to share its concerns about the impact of Petronas’ activities on peace and human rights in Sudan with the Government of Malaysia;
*to openly encourage the Canadian Government to end Talisman Energy Inc’s complicity with war and gross and systematic human rights violations in Sudan.
To the Members of the European Parliament:
*to support the above recommendations to the Member States of the European Union;
*to actively seek Member States to observe its earlier resolutions on Sudan;
*to ensure that Member States take effective action against European involvement in the development of Sudan’s oil industry under the current circumstances;
*to include the Sudan oil case in the upcoming hearings on corporate social responsibilities.
To the Members of Parliament of the EU Member States:
*to monitor the companies registered in their jurisdiction for compliance with the above recommendations; to see to it that Member States take effective action against European involvement in the development of Sudan’s oil industry until a just and lasting peace has been agreed in Sudan.
29 May 2001
European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS)
signed until 21 May by:
ACT Netherlands / Kerken in Actie (Netherlands)
Agir ici (France)
Aktion Selbstbesteuerung (Germany)
ARA e.V. (Germany)
Bischofliches Hilfswerk MISEREOR e.V. (Germany)
Brot fr die Welt (Germany)
Caritas Germany (Germany)
Christian Aid (United Kingdom)
Church Ecumenical Action in Sudan (United Kingdom)
Comit Soudan (France)
Council of Africa (Norway)
Evangelischer Arbeitskreis fr Weltmission (Austria)
Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst / Church Development Service (Germany)
Friends of the Earth Netherlands / Milieudefensie (Netherlands)
Gesellschaft fr Bedrohte Volker (Germany)
Justice and Peace Netherlands
Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke / Danish Association for International Co-operation (Denmark)
Norwegian Peoples Aid (Norway)
Pax Christi International
Secours Catholique (France)
Str-mme Foundation (Norway)
Sudan Forum e.V. (Germany)
Sudan Forum Switzerland
Support Group for Peace in Sudan (Norway)
Werkstatt Okonomie (Germany)
ZOA Refugee Care (Netherlands)