The oil war has been documented by a wide range of independent institutions, human rights organizations, and experts. This page gives an overview of publicly available reports.
Since 1999, the United Nations Special Rapporteurs human rights in Sudan reported links between oil exploitation and abuses:
- Leonardo Franco, Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-fifth session, E/CN.4/1999/38/Add.1. May 1999, Situation of human rights in the Sudan
The Rapporteur “regrets that the Government has forced civilians of ethnic Nuer populations to relocate, with the purpose of ensuring military control of oil industry operations in Upper Nile.” (para. 18)
- Leonardo Franco, Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-fourth session, Agenda item 116 (c) A/54/467, October 1999, Special Report on the situation of human rights in the Sudan
“The economic, political and strategic implications of the oil issue have seriously compounded and exacerbated the conflict and led to a deterioration of the overall situation of human rights and the respect for humanitarian law, as well as further diminishing the already slim chances for peace.” (para. 75)
- Leonardo Franco, Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-sixth session, E/CN.4/2000/36, April 2000, Situation of human rights in the Sudan
“… the Special Rapporteur is convinced that the oil issue, in western Upper Nile, lies at the heart of the conflict… .” (para. 21)
- Gerhart R. Baum, special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in the Sudan, 57t session of the Commission on Human Rights, March 2001, Oral statement on the Human Rights in the Sudan
“During my visit I gathered further evidence that oil exploitation leads to an exacerbation of the conflict with serious consequences on the civilians. More specifically, I received information whereby the Government is resorting to forced eviction of local population and destruction of villages to depopulate areas and allow for oil operations to proceed unimpeded. I was informed that all the villages around Nhialdiu, in Nimne, south of Bentiu, have been burnt to the ground and crop has been destroyed. Similarly, all the villages along the road up to Pulteri, in the surrounding of the oil fields at Rier, have been razed.”
- Commission on Human Rights, April 2003
Statement by Mr. Gerhart Baum Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Sudan
The Canadian Government sent the first mission into Sudan to assess the impact of the oil industry on the population. Its report appeared in January 2000, but despite its damning conclusions, it had no consequences.
- John Harker et al., prepared for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, January 2000, Human Security in Sudan: The Report of a Canadian Assessment Mission
“... oil extraction has exacerbated the armed conflict in Sudan and contributed to human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. Humanitarian law violations and human rights abuses related to forcible displacement of persons from oil producing areas by the Government of Sudan include rape and abduction of women and children for slavery-like purposes and forced labour, indiscriminate and intentional attacks against civilians and the civilian population, indiscriminate and frequent use of weapons, such as Antonov bombs, summary executions, forced displacement of civilians, unlawful confinement of civilians, obstruction of humanitarian assistance.” (p. 104)
Human rights and humanitarian organizations started sending researchers to Sudan by 1999. They published a series of reports, culminating in a formidable study by Jemera Rone for Human Rights Watch in 2003.
- Amnesty International, 3 May 2000, Sudan: The Human Price of Oil
“There is increasing evidence that those who provide security to the oil companies have child soldiers in their employ.” (p. 12)
- Christian Aid, 2001, The scorched earth. Oil and war in Sudan
Despite being rather restrained in its conclusions, this report suddenly launched a high-profile public controversy in Sweden and the UK. “According to village chiefs, systematic attacks on the villages along the oil road began in March 2000, the month Lundin suspended drilling. First, Antonovs would bomb the villages to scatter people, then government troops would come into the village by truck and helicopter to burn huts and kill any people who had stayed.” (p. 7)
- Georgette Gagnon and John Ryle, October 2001, Report of an Investigation into Oil Development, Conflict and Displacement in Western Upper Nile, Sudan
An expert introduction into the main issues annex analysis by two renowned academics. “Military operations against rebel forces in Western Upper Nile and military operations designed to clear and secure the oil fields are not distinct from one another. In fact, they are the same.” (p. 30)
- Diane deGuzman, edited by Egbert G.Ch. Wesselink, for the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan, May 2002, Depopulating Sudan’s oil regions
Two fact finding teams take stock of the impact of the oil war on rural communities. “In the middle of this human catastrophe, the oil companies pretend they are a force for the good, working for the betterment of the Sudanese people mainly because they finance a few small development projects.” (p. 2) ” … none of the oil companies have set any conditions as to the well-being, protection, and the right of return by the people on whose lands they operate.” (p. 4) “Sudan will be capable of producing all the weapons it needs thanks to the growing oil industry (Army Spokesman General Mohamed Osman Yasin).” (p. 16)
- Nils Carstensen, DanChurchAid/Christian Aid, March 2002, Hiding between the streams. The war on civilians in the oil regions of Southern Sudan
Report of a humanitarian assessment visit to remote areas in Unity State. “People have experienced terrifying attacks, many have lost family and friends, and appear to have suffered tremendous trauma.” (p. 7)
- Médecins Sans Frontières, April 2002, Violence, Health and Access to Aid in Unity State/ Western Upper Nile, Sudan
“The health consequences of the war are enormous. Repeated displacement strains coping mechanisms and the loss of cattle drives people into destitution. When these factors are coupled with a general lack of health care and an environment replete with infectious diseases, the result is deadly. Over 100,000 people are known to have died from one war-related disease alone – kala azar. Additional mortality from violence, other diseases, and malnutrition is likely in the tens of thousands. In addition, health workers have been killed and significant numbers of health facilities have been destroyed in the past four years, further devastating the ability of civilians to access adequate health care.” (p. 33)
- Human Rights Watch, 2003, Sudan, Oil and Human Rights
A must read! Human Rights Watch’s finest researcher, Jemera Rone, spent three years on this comprehensive and extremely carefully sourced study.
- International Crisis Group, February 2003, Sudan’s oil fields burn again: Brinkmanship endangers the peace process
” … ongoing danger that the dynamic of oil development represents for the peace process, at least so long as the government and a number of foreign oil companies with which it is in partnership are prepared to pursue that development by whatever means necessary” (p. 1).
- Global IDP Database, March 2003, Profile of internal displacement: Sudan
A compilation of the information available in the Global IDP Database of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
- Scott Lewis, 2004, Rejuvenating or Restraining Civil War. The role of external actors in the war economies of Sudan
- Luke Anthony Patey, May 2007, State rules: Oil companies and armed conflict in Sudan
Analysis of the drivers of international oil companies’ strategies in Sudan.
Established to monitor the implementation of 31 March 2002 Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to Protect Non-Combatant Civilians and Civil Facilities from Military Attack, the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) started investigating violent incidents in December 2002:
- Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT), 31 December 2002 to 30 January 2003
Final Report, Military Events in Western Upper Nile
- Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT), February 2003
CPMT Report: Military Events in Leer
- Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT), February 2003
CPMT Verification Update: Alleged Hostile Activity
- Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT), August 2003
Report of investigation: violence against civilians along the Bentiu-Leer-Adok road
- Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT), June 2004
Report of Investigation No.45: Killings and wounding of civilians along the Leer-Adok Oil Road
- Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT), March 2004
Report of Investigation No.35: Civilian Abductions in Bentiu
In 2013, a report appeared that looked at Lundin’s history in Sudan from a different angle, questioning whether the company had duly informed its shareholders about the realities and the risks of its operation.
- Bloodhound, May 2013, Justifying Blood Money. Lundin’s communications to shareholders and the market during the development of oil concession Block 5A in Sudan 1997 – 2003
- Swedwatch and Fair Finance Guide, April 27, 2017, Fuel for Conflict – Investors and the Case of Lundin Petroleum in Sudan. Investigates how institutional investors have dealt with human rights concerns when investing in Lundin. “By not acting on information regarding adverse impacts on human rights, but instead
referring to the criminal investigation, the investors are applying the standards of the criminal investigation to their own procedures for assessing human rights, which renders these procedures questionable.” Investors should “… address all adverse impacts on human rights that have arisen as a result of Lundin operations in Sudan between 1997 and 2003.”
Lundin published three documents to justify its activities in Sudan.
- Lundin Oil, May 2001, Lundin Oil in Sudan. A response to Christian Aid’s report “Scorched Earth”. “CA does not point out that Sudan, like any other country, is under an obligation to provide protection to citizens and foreigners alike from attacks by rebels and/or terrorist organizations.” “The report does not discuss the positive aspects of the involvement of foreign oil companies such as: – The fact that they effectively act as human rights watchdogs.” “Extracting oil in a country at war is indeed a difficult proposition, but the alternative is to deny the people of the area the possibility to gain the means to be self-sufficient.”
- Christine Batruch, 2004, Oil and conflict: Lundin Petroleum experience in Sudan
“The company’s repeated suspensions of activities were a proof that oil activities could not flourish in a conflict situation, and experience in various other countries demonstrated that a conflict of this nature could not be resolved militarily.”
In 2016, Lundin Petroleum launched a dedicated website about its Sudanese legacy. It contains an infographic confirming that the company continued building infrastructure during “suspension of field activities” due to the war. It also contains a third attempt to present a benign image of the company’s role in Sudan:
- Lundin Petroleum, October 2016, Lundin History in Sudan, 1997-2003
“There has been intermittent civil war in Sudan since 1956, and Lundin was aware that the area could prove unstable. However, at the time of entry, a peace agreement had been signed. For the duration of Lundin’s presence in Block 5A, there were no sanctions by Sweden, the European Union or the United Nations against doing business in Sudan. The policy of these bodies was that companies can operate in potentially turbulent parts of the world, as trade and exploration of natural resources can benefit both economic growth and peace.” “The army took over security for the operations when the factional fighting increased and the previous protection measures were no longer sufficient.” “Lundin raised concerns about alleged assaults on civilians in meetings and written correspondence to the Government of Sudan and other parties to the conflict.”