Swedish banks and pension funds have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Swedish oil company Lundin Petroleum despite allegations that the company has contributed to severe violations against human rights in Sudan. A new report from Fair Finance Guide and Swedwatch shows that the investors have failed to comply with international standards.
According to extensive documentation, Lundin Petroleum contributed to the killing and displacement of thousands of people in Sudan between 1997 and 2003. A new report, Fuel for conflict, investigates how the seven largest Swedish banks and public pension funds invest in the company and how they have acted on these allegations. The report shows that only two of them, Swedbank and the second government pension fund, AP2, have demanded an independent investigation of the company’s activities in Sudan. None of the investors have demanded that the company should compensate the victims.
“The banks and pension funds have done far too little to make sure that Lundin Petroleum acts responsibly in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and offer the victims their right to remedy and compensation”, says Jakob König, project manager at Fair Finance Guide in Sweden.
Lundin Petroleum was searching for oil in southern Sudan (today South Sudan) between 1997 and 2003, at the same time as a civil war was ravaging the country. According to UN Special Rapporteurs and organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the conflict was scaled up by the presence of Lundin as the struggle for control of the oil fields severely affected civilians. According to an investigation by the organisation Ecos, Lundin’s activities contributed to more than 12,000 being killed and to 160,000 being displaced. Lundin has never acknowledged that the company contributed to adverse impacts on human rights but has claimed it was a force for peace.
“Despite considerable reports on how the company’s activities contributed to adverse impacts on human rights around the oil fields, banks and pension funds continued to invest in Lundin. The fact that the violations took place more than 10 years ago does not matter, the victims are still suffering the consequences. Lundin’s owners must act to make the company take on responsibility”, says Swedwatch report author and researcher Olof Björnsson.
The report shows that the banks and pension funds own shares worth more than 410 million dollars in Lundin Petroleum. Swedish bank customers and pension savers can influence the situation by encouraging banks and pension funds to take more responsibility, for example by supporting the proposition at the AGM.