Research by the newest United Nations Special Rapporteur for Sudan has confirmed and extended the findings of his predecessors concerning the role of oil in exacerbating Sudan’s brutally destructive civil war. Gerhart Baum, appointed by the UN Commission on Human Rights, declared yesterday that exploitation of Sudan’s oil reserves “has led to a worsening of the conflict, which has also turned into a war for oil” (October 10, 2001). With this emphatic and unambiguous statement, Baum confirms the findings of previous Special Rapporteurs Gaspar Biro and Leonardo Franco—and joins Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Christian Aid, and numerous other reporting organizations in emphasizing the disastrous consequences of oil development in southern Sudan.
Eric Reeves [October 11, 2001]
Northampton, MA 01063
There is neither doubt nor ambiguity: the presence in southern Sudan of Talisman Energy (Canada), Lundin Petroleum (Sweden), Petronas (Malaysia), and China National Petroleum Corp. is exacerbating conflict in Sudan. It is prolonging the most destructive civil conflict in the world today. It is responsible for untold human suffering and tens upon tens of thousands of human casualties. There can be no more savagely callous corporate complicity anywhere on the planet.
Continued acquiescence in this appalling state of affairs defines the polices of the Government of Canada, the Government of Sweden, and their Asian and Arab partners. All are certainly well aware of the grim realities chronicled by Baum (see attached Reuters wire report); all know full well of the massive scorched-earth warfare that serves as “security” for oil companies operating in southern Sudan.
And yet this knowledge makes no difference. Sudanese civilians continue to be slaughtered, displaced, bombed in terrorist attacks by the Khartoum regime—and Canada and Sweden, supposed bastions of human rights concerns, turn away. They find fitting company with China, Malaysia and Qatar.
Most dismayingly, the Bush administration has also turned away, putting the Sudan Peace Act into legislative limbo as it makes deals with Khartoum for terrorist intelligence. Instead of allowing this long overdue measure to go forward, the White House has denied the Republican leadership the opportunity to set up a House/Senate conference committee to reconcile differing versions of the bill. The House version of the Sudan Peace Act, which has potent US capital market sanctions directed against oil companies operating in Sudan, languishes despite broad public support.
Sudan thus offers the hideous spectacle of an African nation continuing to be torn apart by a war that is directly fueled by international oil development—and the world looks on indifferently, knowing full well what is occurring. The destructive rapacity of Talisman Energy and its partners is matched only by the callousness of the Government of Canada and its allies in indifference.
News Article by Reuters posted on October 10, 2001 at 16:12:06: EST (-5 GMT)
Sudan civil war becoming war over oil—UN report
By Irwin Arieff
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 10 (Reuters) The human rights situation in war-torn Sudan is worsening, a U.N. investigator said on Wednesday, urging nations with oil firms operating in the northeast African nation to step up the search for peace.
“No matter what oil companies do in terms of providing such social services as hospitals, schools and roads in the area where they operate, their doing business in a war-torn country … will continue to face international criticism until military warfare ends,” U.N. rights prober Gerhart Baum said.
Sudan has been mired for 18 years in civil war pitting government forces against the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, which wants greater autonomy for the mostly animist and Christian south from the mainly Muslim, Arabic-speaking north.
The conflict, which has intensified in recent months, has cost up to 2 million lives and displaced millions more.
Human rights and church groups have long charged that oil firms, by funneling revenues to the government, were helping fund the fighting.
Baum, appointed by the Geneva-based U.N. Commission on Human Rights, agreed, saying exploitation of Sudan’s oil reserves “has led to a
worsening of the conflict, which has also turned into a war for oil.”
Canada, China, France Iran, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Qatar and Sweden are among the countries in which oil companies doing business in Sudan are registered, according to oil industry compilations.
In his report to the 189-nation U.N. General Assembly, Baum said the fighting left Sudanese civilians living under appalling conditions and
urged the United States, the European Union and regional groups to also “increase their engagement in the search for a peaceful solution.”
The United States, which bans U.S. firms from doing business in Sudan, last month allowed the U.N. Security Council to lift separate sanctions,
imposed on Sudan after militants tried to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 1995.
Washington gave its green light to the council while seeking help from Khartoum for its fight against Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born militant
it blames for Sept. 11 hijack attacks on the United States. Bin Laden had lived in Sudan from 1991 to 1996 but is now believed to be in Afghanistan.
But the United Nations this week accused Sudanese government forces of three days of bombing raids on unarmed civilians in southern Sudan while U.N. relief workers were trying to distribute food aid to tens of thousands of hungry villagers.
U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher on Tuesday acknowledged criticisms of Sudan over the practice of slavery, denial of
humanitarian access and religious discrimination, but said Sudan had taken steps against terrorism.