Unpaid Debt: The Right to Remedy

All victims of human rights violations have a right to remedy and reparation. This website is about the tens of thousands of victims of the oil war in Sudan who have been denied this right.

From 1983 to 2005, Sudan was torn apart by a civil war involving the Government and a variety of armed groups, many from the Southern part of the country. Mid-1990s, international oil companies signed contracts with the Government of Sudan to exploit oil in areas that were not under Government control, setting off a vicious war that would last until 2003. One of the affected areas was Block 5A, that had been awarded in 1997 to the members of the Lundin Consortium – IPC/Lundin Oil/Lundin Petroleum (the Swedish operator), Petronas (Malaysia) and OMV (Austria). The people in the oil fields belong to the Nuer ethnic communities. The war divided them more than ever, solidifying the emergence of the very same class of war lords that is driving civil war in South Sudan today.

Between 1997 and 2003, war crimes were committed on a large scale in what was essentially a military campaign by the Government of Sudan to secure and take control of the oil fields in Block 5A. They included indiscriminate attacks and intentional targeting of civilians, burning of shelters, pillage, destruction of objects necessary for survival, unlawful killing of civilians, rape of women, abduction of children, torture, and forced displacement. Satellite pictures taken between 1994 and 2003 show that the Lundin Consortium’s activities in Block 5A coincided with a spectacular drop in agricultural land use. Conservative estimates show that by the time Lundin Petroleum left the area in 2003, 12,000 people had died and 160,000 had been forcibly displaced.

Sweden’s “no-guts-no-glory” company Lundin Petroleum sold its Sudanese assets in 2003 for a handsome profit, invested in Norway, and became a multi-billion dollar business. The adverse impacts of its Sudan operations are undeniable and, together with its shareholders, the company has arguably profited from war crimes.  The company has endorsed the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, that asserts that businesses must know and remedy their adverse impacts, but it refuses to do so, denying any responsibility for anything that has happened in Sudan. The shareholders in Lundin Petroleum support the company in this.

You can support the victims by calling upon the oil companies and their shareholders to commit to their remedy, by asking the Swedish Government to establish a remedy mechanism, and by advocating for justice through social media.


This website offers publicly available documents, legal analysis, and comments about the Unpaid Debt case. Once a court case into alleged contributions to war crimes by Lundin Petroleum opens, which is likely to happen in 2018, we will provide immediate coverage of the hearings, expert analysis, and comments by the interested parties.

Click here for a comprehensive searchable website with all publicly available documentation about the history of oil exploitation in Sudan and South Sudan.


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