About Unpaid Debt

All victims of human rights violations have a right to remedy and reparation. The tens of thousands of people in South Sudan who lived through the horrors of the oil war have been denied this right. The Unpaid Debt project supports them in their fight for justice.  

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 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 worst affected areas was Block 5A, that had been awarded in 1997 to the members of the Lundin Consortium: IPC/Lundin Oil/Lundin Petroleum (now Lundin Energy), Petronas and OMV.  

Between 1997 and 2003, war crimes were routinely committed in what was essentially a military campaign by the Government of Sudan to secure the oil fields. This included intentional killing of civilians, burning of shelters, use of child soldiers, pillage, rape of women, abduction of children, torture, and forced displacement. Lundin’s activities in Block 5A coincided with a spectacular drop in agricultural land use that caused widespread poverty and hunger. Lundin sold its Sudanese assets in 2003 with $92 million profit which it invested successfully in Norway to become a multi-billion dollar enterprise. OMV sold its asset in 2003. By the time Lundin and OMV left the area in 2003, an estimated 12,000 people had died and 160,000 had been forcibly displaced. Petronas bought OMV’s share and continued the activities. The three companies deny any responsibility. 

Arguably, the three companies and their shareholders have benefitted from war crimes. By endorsing the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, they have committed themselves to knowing and addressing their adverse human rights impacts, but they don’t. 

By not assessing and addressing past human rights impacts, Lundin Energy, OMV, and Petronas are disrespecting human rights today. 

By tolerating the misconduct of Lundin Energy, OMV and Petroleum, shareholders are enabling and encouraging their misconduct.

The War Crimes Unit of Swedish Prosecution Authority has charged Lundin Energy’s Chairman Ian H Lundin and its former CEO Alexandre Schneiter with aiding and abetting international crimes. In case of a conviction, the prosecution will request the court to declare Lundin’s entire operation in Sudan a criminal enterprise and forfeit SEK 1,39 billion in criminally obtained benefits.

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