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«Human Rights Watch Brussels London New York Washington, D.C. Copyright © 2003 by Human Rights Watch. All rights reserved. Printed in the United ...»

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32 Leonardo Franco, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan, “Report on the situation of human rights in Sudan,” prepared for the UN General Assembly, A/54/467, October 14, 1999, http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/(Symbol)/A.54.467.En?Opendocument, (accessed August 13, 2003).

33 Steven Edwards, Claudia Cattaneo, and Sheldon Alberts, “Calgary firm tied to Sudan ‘atrocities’,” National Post (Toronto), Khartoum and Ottawa, November 17, 1999.

34 International Code of Ethics for Canadian Business, http://www.uottawa.ca/hrrec/busethics/codeint.html (accessed June 6, 2001).


But, while Talisman provided clean water to several communities, these and other charitable contributions amounted to only a fraction of one percent of Talisman’s post-tax revenue.35 Talisman spent about $ 1 million in fifteen Sudanese community development projects in 2000,36 the majority of which, in fact, were located in the northern part of Sudan.37 It spent an additional U.S. $ 469,070 (estimated) on GNPOC community development projects in 2000,38 or a total of approximately U.S. $ 1,469,070 in social spending in Sudan in 2000. This is equal to 0.12 percent of Talisman’s post-tax revenue.

The percentage was almost the same in 2001, when it spent less: U.S. $ 819,541 (of which $ 190,687 was carried over from 2000) in its own projects, and U.S. $ 662,545 (estimated) on GNPOC community development projects, or a total of approximately U.S. $ 1,482,086 in all in 2001.39 This is equal to 0.12 percent of Talisman’s 2001 post-tax revenue.40 These benefits represent the positive side, but they are insignificant compared to the impact of Talisman’s involvement in Sudan’s oil extraction on those communities in the south who have been targeted for forcible displacement and other human rights abuses in order to clear them from actual and potential oilfields.

35 The pre-tax segmented revenue was U.S. $ 1,768 million in 2000, of which U.S. $ 184 million was attributable to its Sudan operations. The comparable amounts were revenue of U.S. $ 1,616 million in 2001, with U.S. $ 210 million derived from the Sudan operations, and revenue of U.S. $ 1,352 million in 2002, with U.S. $ 310 million derived from Sudan. Talisman Energy, 2002 Annual Report, March 4, 2003, p. 55.

36 Talisman Energy, Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2000, p. 23.

37 Talisman (Greater Nile) B.V., “Community Development Strategy – 2001,” undated, pp. 6-8.

38 Talisman Energy, Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2000, p. 23. The GNPOC project expenses were deducted as expenses to the project.

39 Talisman Energy, Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2001, pp. 11, 23. Talisman approved a U.S. $ 2 million community development work plan for 2001, but because it was not all expended, it put the balance (U.S. $ 581,515) into a trust. Ibid., p. 11.

40 For the year 2002, in which Talisman sold out its interest in Sudan, it issued its Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2002 that did not include comparable information.

63Human Rights Watch

One of the oft-repeated charges was that GNPOC did not hire local southern Sudanese laborers, even for the most menial work. The Chinese CNPC-related subcontractors that predominated admittedly brought in thousands of Chinese and some northern Sudanese laborers to build the pipeline. Thus even the small spin-off that communities ordinarily realize from foreign oil investment, jobs in infrastructure construction, was denied to the southern Sudanese.

Talisman’s defense of its presence was challenged both by southern rebel organizations and by the government’s civilian opposition. The United Sudanese African Parties (USAP), a southern political party registered under the government’s political association system in Khartoum and operating within the Sudanese political system, issued a declaration in 1999 calling on the government to suspend immediately all oil operations. It condemned not the government, however, but the oil companies, and singled out Talisman for hiring agents in Europe, North America, and elsewhere to launch “foolish propaganda that claims that people of Southern Sudan are incapable of appreciating the economic advantages which petroleum exploitation” will offer them.41 It accused Talisman of knowing full well:that the Dinka and Nuer national groups were suffering brutal death, wanton destruction of their homes, and unprecedented displacement of whole families and clans. “Their ancestral land has instead become a theatre of war, fueled with inputs from oil interests in Canada, China, Malaysia and some European countries.”42 The Christian church leadership in Sudan, in the government and rebel areas, also condemned the

presence of foreign oil companies and oil development in the absence of a just peace:

Since it started the exploitation of the oil last year 1999, the government of the Sudan has however not used the revenues from the oil for the development of the people of Sudan and in particular those in the oil areas who throughout history were neglected in terms of equitable allocation of the national resources. Instead, the oil revenues have 41 “Statement by USAP on Oil,” as reproduced in Sudan Democratic Gazette, Year X, no. 115, London, December 1999, p. 9.

42 Ibid.

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been used for the purchase of military necessities and weapons used for killing and displacing people in these oil areas. The government has assumed that it can end the conflict militarily.

Further, the government is using the roads and airstrips of the multi-national oil companies engaged in the production of oil in the Sudan, for military purposes, carrying out aerial bombardment on civilian targets.... 43 Like other oil companies engaged in Sudan, Talisman knew or should have known that oil production was taking place in areas where local pastoral populations lacked the basic rights necessary to defend their interests. Talisman also knew or should have known of government displacement and attacks on civilians in its and adjacent concessions prior to its investment in Sudan; it knew or should have known that the government was attacking civilians in Talisman’s GNPOC concession in May 1999 and thereafter, and that forced displacement of civilians by government forces was occurring in this and adjacent concessions. Although Talisman would occasionally protest to the government of Sudan (for instance, on the use of the airstrip), it also knew or should have known that government forces were targeting civilian infrastructure, including aerial bombings of hospitals, churches, and schools throughout the south and the Nuba mountains.44 Talisman’s complicity in the government’s abuses was not limited to its inaction in the face of the continued displacement campaign rolling through the oil areas. Its activities in some cases assisted forcible displacement and attacks on civilians. For example, it allowed government forces to use the 43 New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC), “Statement of the Sudanese Churches on the Oil Factor in the Conflict in the Sudan,” press release, Geneva, April 12, 2000, http://www.pcusa.org/pda/sudanoil.htm (accessed June 24, 2001). The statement was signed by the chairmen and other officers of the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) based in Khartoum and the NSCC based in Nairobi, April 14, 2000, the temporary branch of the SCC.

44 “Human Security in Sudan: The Report of a Canadian Assessment Mission,” prepared for the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ottawa, January 2000 (“Harker report”), p. 63: “But the point is that by seeking the truth, we think we have found it, &, within limits, were Talisman to actively seek the truth of what was/is going on around it, it too would find the truth as we have. And the truth can be uncomfortable.”

65Human Rights Watch

Talisman/GNPOC airfield and road infrastructure in circumstances in which it knew or should have known that the facilities would be used to conduct further displacement and wage indiscriminate or disproportionate military attacks that struck and/or targeted civilians and civilian objects. Its activities also allowed the government to expand its program of forced displacement into Block 5A, which had been overlooked in the conflict until the pipeline neared completion just seventy-five kilometers from Block 5A’s first drilling site.

The military use of the transportation infrastructure built by the oil operators in the concession areas has raised particular issues of corporate responsibility. The long all-weather airstrip at the oil operators’ camp at Heglig is confirmed to have been used by the Sudanese military, as have the roads built from north to south and east to west through the concession areas. A large military base at Heglig intended to protect the oilfield operations sits almost on top of the oil operators’ enclave and airstrip. A Canadian human rights delegation concluded that government helicopter gunships and Antonov bombers have taken off from the oil company airstrip at Heglig “with their payloads of death and displacement.”45 The Sudanese army also makes military use of the excellent road system installed by the oil companies to move their heavy equipment; armored personnel carriers are able to reach the government’s targeted villages by surprise, in much less time than before.

Far from bringing peace, prosperity and security, in Sudan oil development has brought conflict, displacement and widespread abuse. After Talisman came on the scene in 1998, fighting and displacement in Western Upper Nile/Unity State drastically increased. As documented in several human rights reports by international NGOs, non-Sudanese government commissions, and international agencies, Western Upper Nile/Unity State became the focal point of the war, where the Sudanese government has invested large amounts of soldiers and aviation resources in the see-saw battle for control of the oilfields. Talisman admitted, when it sold off its interest in GNPOC, that it was

–  –  –

“unsuccessful in... attempts to finalize a protocol [with the Sudanese government] that endeavoured to address the provision of security and the appropriate use of oilfield infrastructure.”46 Human Rights Watch believes that CNPC and Petronas, Talisman’s partners, share complicity with Talisman. Indeed, they began investing money and expertise some years before Talisman, and they laid the groundwork for the project that Talisman then completed. They have shown little interest in corporate responsibility, however; they are state-owned corporations based in countries, Malaysia and China, whose governments have shown little interest in human rights accountability. At Talisman’s urging, GNPOC signed a code of corporate conduct, but CNPC and Petronas did not individually sign any codes.

Lundin has followed Talisman’s lead, and also failed to investigate or acknowledge forcible displacement of tens of thousands of civilians from its concession area in the years after it began active exploration.

Lundin scarcely acknowledged that there was a war anywhere in Block 5A—despite the fact that a May 1999 rebel attack at its only exploratory rig caused it to suspend all operations for more than a year. On the day of the attack, it withdrew its one hundred employees and subcontractors from the Thar Jath (Ryer) rig to Bentiu, a twenty-minute helicopter ride north. The government, using proxy Nuer militias followed up by army and Islamist militias, then ousted tens of thousands of civilians from their homes in Block 5A, some more than once, in three sweeps lasting months in 1999. But Lundin in its public statements about its 1999 suspension of activities disclosed only that operations were suspended because of the “rainy season,” later referred vaguely to “logistics,” and much later made a passing comment on “insecurity” as reasons for withdrawing.

Lundin and its partners, Austrian OMV and Malaysian Petronas, made no public statement condemning this displacement, destruction, or other abuses brought about by oil development. The U.N. special 46 Talisman Energy, “Corporate Responsibility Report,”March 4, 2003, p. 8. ONGU Videsh Ltd. completed its purchase of Talisman’s interest in GNPOC on March 12, 2003. http://www.talisman-energy.com/operatingareas/africa/sudan.html (accessed July 28, 2003).

–  –  –

rapporteur and international NGO reports of continuing displacement in Block 5A have proliferated from 2000 to date, however, evidencing the stepped-up expulsion.

Lundin claimed that upon completion of the road to its Thar Jath (Ryer) drilling rig in January 2001, its representatives visited the (militarized) “habited areas along the road” to assess their basic needs, and claimed that people were grateful for the road. A Swedish journalist visiting in April 2001, however, found that “the road is bordered with misery and military.”47 But traditionally Nuer did not live along that new road or any other. While denying the existence of any displacement from Block 5A, Lundin took full advantage of the heavy army presence to develop its concession.

Lundin was forced to suspend its operations in Block 5A again in early 2002, as a “precautionary measure to ensure maximum security for its personnel and operation.”48 Lundin is also invested in Block 5B, with the same partners as Block 5A; Petronas is the managing partner on Block 5B, where it appears that no exploration activity has taken place since Chevron pulled out almost two decades ago.

Lundin announced on March 27, 2003 that because of progress in the peace talks it would “carry out work on the existing infrastructure within Block 5A and the equipment stored in the Rubkona base camp, as a first step towards and eventual recommencement of activities.”49 A month later, however, Lundin announced that it would sell off its interest in Block 5A to Petronas. The sale was complete on June 23; Lundin retained its interest in Block 5B.50 47 See Anna Koblanck, “Lundin Oil’s road/DN in Sudan: On flight from the war over oil,” Dagens Nyheter (Stockholm), April 28, 2001 (translated by Human Rights Watch).

48 Lundin press release, “Lundin Petroleum Announces a Temporary Suspension of Activities in Block 5A Sudan,” Geneva, January 22, 2002.

49 Lundin press release, “Update on activities in Block 5A, Sudan,” Geneva, March 27, 2003.

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