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In September 2001, Blocks 3 and 7 (Melut Basin) in Eastern Upper Nile seemed ready to take off, from a government point of view. The government announced numerous times that certain countries and companies were interested in development of these Blocks 3 and 7.898 Finally, Gulf Petroleum Corporation (the Qatari company that already held the concession), CNPC, the Al-Thani Corporation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Sudapet signed an agreement to conduct joint operations in 897 “Malaysian oil firm given stake in Sudan project: report,” AFP, Kuala Lumpur, July 13, 2000.
898 On April 4, 2001, Deputy Defence Minister Col. Ibrahim Shams Ed-din and thirteen other senior army officers died when visiting the area. Their military Antonov went down in a sandstorm trying to land at the Adar Yel airstrip in Block 3, Eastern Upper Nile.
Mohamed Ali Saeed, “Sandstorm blamed for Sudanese plane crash that left 15 dead,” AFP, Khartoum, April 5, 2001. President El Bashir said at his memorial service that Shams Ed-din had never been absent for a full week from the front lines, and “has persistently sought martyrdom.” The president then vowed, “We will continue on the path chosen by the martyrs and will remain faithful to that path. There is no peace without Islam and Islamic law.” Ibid.
Blocks 3 and 7 under the name of Petrodar. It had plans to drill twenty wells there in 2002.899 CNPC had already announced that it had begun oil exploration there in March 2001.900 The government frequently announced the comings and goings of oil company officials and foreign government representatives interested in entering the oil business in Sudan.901 Some of them concluded agreements, including Slavneft (Russia’s oil company agreed with the government to work in Blocks 9 and 11 in northern Sudan)902 and the Russian republic of Tatarstan’s oil company Tatneft. It appeared that Tatneft signed an agreement with Gulf Petroleum to participate in development of Blocks 3 and 7.
It also signed a memorandum on long-term cooperation with the ministry of energy and mining.903 As of the writing of this report, aside from the on-going 10,000 b/d production at Block 3, none of these other blocks were producing oil.
899 “Sudan: Four Oil Companies Announce Merger,” SUNA, Khartoum, September 1, 2001; Reuters Business Briefings (RBB), in BBCMIR, September 2, 2001.
900 The CNPC announced in March 2001 that it was carrying out oil exploration in this area of 72,400 square kilometers. “New Oil Exploration Announced,” IRIN, Nairobi, March 12, 2001. The CNPC said that the company’s partners were Gulf Petroleum, 46 percent; CNPC and Thani, both 23 percent; and Sudapet, 8 percent.
901 See “Japanese company seeking investment in oil, gas exploration,” SUNA, Khartoum, May 24, 2001 (Mitsui Company).
902 “Russian Firm to Prospect for Oil Around Khartoum,”PANA, Khartoum, April 22, 2001; “Russian oil company in deal with Sudan,” Kommersant (Moscow), April 24, 2001, in Russian, as translated in BBC Monitoring Service, April 30, 2001; “Russian-Belarusian oil firm to develop Sudanese deposits,” Interfax, Moscow, July 20, 2001 (the government and Slavneft planned to sign a production sharing agreement for Block 9 in 2001 and start work before the end of the year); “Slavneft Eyes Sudan Oilfields,” Reuters, Moscow, April 24, 2001.
903 “Russia: Tatarstan signs agreement on joint oil extraction in Sudan,” ITAR-TASS (in English), Kazan, Russia, June 21, 2001, from BBC Monitoring Service, June 21, 2001.
PART III: HUMAN RIGHTS CONSEQUENCES OF OIL DEVELOPMENT
INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT AND INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAWOverview Approximately 204,500 people were internally displaced from Western Upper Nile/Unity State from mid-1998 until February 2001, conservatively estimated, with the usual caveat that numbers in the south of Sudan are often no more than educated guesses. As of March 2002, the total number of displaced persons who fled Western Upper Nile/Unity State to elsewhere in Upper Nile and to Lakes (part of Bahr El Ghazal) alone was estimated at 174,200. This displacement, accomplished through war as the means of control of the strategic and valuable oilfields, was illegal under international rules of war. These civilians were not displaced for one of two permissible reasons under the rules of war: “imperative military reasons” or the safety of the civilians. They were not allowed to go or to remain at home after the danger of a military campaign was over. They were pushed off their land, in some cases many times, by goverment army or militia forces, for the purpose of emptying the oil areas of southern civilians whom the central government regarded as “security threats” to oil development, solely on account of their ethnic origin and therefore presumed rebel loyalties.
The government tried to control this “security threat” by the most extreme means of removal, using military land and air invasions, killing, looting, burning, and destroying the local subsistence economy and killing and injuring civilians. At the same time it cut the area off from humanitarian assistance by imposing relief flight bans and denials of access, while only allowing food into garrison towns, where it could serve as a magnet to draw starving people to crowded areas under government control: a textbook case of a counterinsurgency operation.
Some rebel leaders complicated the scenario through attempts to manipulate the humanitarian structures.
In an effort to demonstrate his military support in the field, in 2000 Riek Machar tried to parlay his
political control of the Relief Association for Southern Sudan (RASS) into proof of his control of Nuer areas. And the SPLA’s attempts to impose further controls on NGOs in its territory pushed more independent-minded NGOs out of its territory. The SPLA then jeopardized the Wunlit peace agreeement when it launched an attack from Dinka territory on a relief hub at Nyal, Western Upper Nile/Unity State serving the Nuer.
Numbers of Nuer and Dinka Displaced from Oil Blocks in Western Upper Nile/Unity State According to information provided by the WFP and others, an estimated 204,500 civilians in Western Upper Nile/Unity State were displaced from the time the oilfield conflict escalated in 1998 through February 2001. Their movements in search of safety and food took them in different directions, sometimes to the edge of an oil concession, sometimes to the toic, sometimes to a garrison town, and sometimes outside of Western Upper Nile/Unity State. Those who were hiding in areas inaccessible to relief organizations usually were not counted.
The estimated numbers of displaced from Western Upper Nile/Unity State break down as follows: 1998February 2001: 134,000 displaced; and as of March 2002, 174,200 remained displaced.904 While none of these numbers is more than an estimate or a snapshot, together they provide a means of comparison: numbers of displaced were on the increase.
1998-1999 The WFP in December 1999 estimated that since the conflict moved to the oilfields in 1998 WFP had assessed about 70,500 Western Upper Nile/Unity State displaced or war-affected civilians in need of 904 All statistics gathered in the south are approximations or educated guesses because of the chaos of war, continual civilian displacement, famine and scarcity, and the skeletal transportation and communications systems. The relief agencies produce, for their operations, estimates of those in need of food or non-food humanitarian assistance. These records, kept in the ordinary course of the relief business, are only reliable as estimates in the absence of better information on population.
314Human Rights Consequences of Oil Development
food and other aid.905 This included only those people who were identified in relief needs assessments by relief personnel. The internally displaced in the most remote areas—people who had fled into the toic or other inaccessible areas for safety—rarely were counted by any agency and their number was not known.
The rough estimate of 70,500 displaced from 1998-99 originating in Western Upper Nile/Unity State
was in two parts:
(1) OLS Southern Sector, served from Kenya: 40,500. OLS noted that expulsions from Western Upper Nile/Unity State included 17,500 Nuer from Mankien (Block 4) 906 and 23,000 Nuer from Ler and Koch (Block 5A) who went to Bahr El Ghazal or other areas of Upper Nile,907 that is, from both the GNPOC and Lundin Block 5A concessions.
The Nuer from Ler and Koch included those who left immediately after the fighting in May-June 1999, when more than 3,000 displaced people were received in Nyal (including 2,250 women and children).908 Another 4,000 of these displaced people went to Ganyliel (including 2,800 women and children).909 But as the fighting raged back and forth and up and down Block 5A, more and more persons were dislodged 905 Email, Aya Shneerson, WFP press officer to Human Rights Watch, December 1, 1999.
906 Of the Nuer displaced from Mankien, an estimated 4,000 went to Maper, Twic County, Bahr El Ghazal, and 13,500 fled to Thiekthou, also in Twic County. Aya Shneerson, email to Human Rights Watch, December 1, 1999. Those who fled Mankien (Bul and Leek Nuer) went to Twic County, Bahr El Ghazal, for protection with Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s former commander, Philip Bapiny, who had joined the SPLM/A in October 1998 with his followers. After Cmdr. Philip Bapiny’s defection to the SPLM/A, Maj.
Gen.Paulino Matiep became suspicious of Cmdr. Philip Bapiny’s relatives and civilian sympathizers, and reportedly began selective torture, confiscation of property, and detention, leading to mass flight. Christopher M. Kiilu, WFP, “Assessment of Displaced Nuer in Twic county,” internal agency memo, June 30, 1999.
907 These 23,000 were mainly displaced in four different directions: 7,000 to Nyal; 4,000 to Ganyliel, south of Nyal; 1,500 to Pabuong, northwest of Nyal, all in Western Upper Nile/Unity State; and 10,500 to Makuac, Tonj County, Bahr El Ghazal. Aya Shneerson, email to Human Rights Watch, December 1, 1999.
908 The WFP put the number at 3,762 internally displaced in Nyal. WFP, Sudan Bulletin No. 89: May 30-June 5, 1999. There were much larger numbers estimated outside of Nyal. The WFP distributed food for 32,750 beneficiaries in and around Nyal, displaced and needy non-displaced. U.N. OLS (Southern Sector), “Weekly Report: May 31– June 6, 1999,” Nairobi, June 6, 1999.
909 U.N. OLS (Southern Sector), “Weekly Report: May 31– June 6, 1999.”
from their homes in fear, and fled by August 1999. A large displaced persons area formed in Pabuong, an eight-hour walk west of Nyal.
(2) OLS Northern Sector, served from Khartoum: some 30,000 needy displaced in Bentiu, Rubkona, Pariang, Mayom (Blocks 5A, 1, and 2), and other garrison towns, many of them fleeing the oilfield areas, estimated by the WFP in October 1999.910 2000-2001 The numbers displaced from their place of origin in Western Upper Nile/Unity State in 2000-February 2001 were approximately 134,000 persons, a very conservative estimate derived from three sources.911 (1) The first is the U.N. Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Sudan 2001. It states that there was a large influx of approximately 60,000 internally displaced persons into Bentiu in July and August 2000. It noted, however, that those outside Bentiu were not being served: “the fragile security situation outside of Bentiu town has restricted access to the communities either prior to or during displacement.”912 Only the ones who went to Bentiu in a period of two months were included in the U.N. appeal’s estimate of approximately 60,000 displaced in Western Upper Nile/Unity State for all of 2000. This number is therefore likely to be a gross undercount. Most of these displaced, according to the observations of NGO Action Against Hunger (Action Contre la Faim, ACF), lived within a one hundred 910 U.N. OLS (Northern and Southern Sectors), “Joint Weekly Report: October 13, 1999,” Nairobi, October 13, 1999. The 30,000 escaped into the garrison towns of Bentiu (16,000), Rubkona (4,830), and Mayom (2,900). There were others in need in the government areas of Pariang (4,770), Tong and Gezira (900), and Dorkhan and Kuersilik (600). Those in Pariang included persons who fled from the government military operations outside of Pariang in May 1999.
911 A breakdown as in 1999 was unavailable for subsequent years.
912 OCHA, Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Sudan 2001, United Nations, p. 11, see http://www.reliefweb.int/.
kilometer radius of Bentiu, and were fleeing fighting between factions that had resulted in looting and destruction of villages.913 There were thousands more who were displaced because of the conflict and oil in 2000 who did not go to Bentiu at all, but went to Bahr El Ghazal,914 or into the displaced-receiving areas established in Western Upper Nile/Unity State in 1999—Ganyliel, Pabuong, and Nyal—or into Bul Nuer areas where they could not be counted because of flight bans, fighting, and weather. Those people are not included in the above 60,000 estimate.
(2) A separate and additional assessment carried out in Tonj County of Bahr El Ghazal in February 2001 indicated that another 23,000 Nuer displaced from Western Upper Nile/Unity State had arrived recently, in organized groups.915 These are added to the 60,000 above, because it is unlikely that these displaced were counted twice.
(3) An additional summation by WFP for Liech State (Western Upper Nile/Unity State) indicates that in January-February 2001 there were about 51,000 additional persons displaced who remained inside Western Upper Nile/Unity State, at locations served from OLS (Southern Sector), i.e., not in Bentiu.916 913 In the few days between July 28-31, 2000, “19,000 displaced people, mainly women and children arrived. After several days walking, with the majority having nothing to eat, they are in an alarming nutritional state.” ACF, August 10, 2000, quoted in “Profile of Internal Displacement: Sudan,” compilation of the information available in the Global IDP Database of the Norwegian Refugee Council, as of 13 November, 2000, p. 41; also available at http://www.idpproject.org, Geneva, Switzerland.