Complaint filed against Irish oil co over alleged failure to ensure it had consent of Western Saharan people; incl. co non-response

On 24 October 2018, the Global Legal Action Network submitted a formal complaint with the Irish National Contact Point against Irish oil company San Leon Energy. The complaint alleges the company failed to ensure it had the consent of the Western Saharan people before drilling for oil on their land. 

We invited San Leon Energy to respond; it did not. More information is available below.

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Company non-response
13 November 2018

San Leon Energy did not respond

24 October 2018

Complaint filed against Irish oil company for business dealings in annexed Western Sahara

Author: Global Legal Action Network

The Global Legal Action Network has submitted a formal complaint against San Leon Energy PLC today (24/10/2018) for violating the human rights of the people of Western Sahara, two-thirds of which Morocco controls by force and has sought to annex under its domestic law. The complaint alleges that the company failed to ensure that it has the consent of the Western Saharan people before drilling for oil on their land...

[T]he complaint was filed before Ireland’s National Contact Point (NCP) for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)...

The complaint shows that companies like San Leon who are required to ensure that any business dealings in the Western Sahara occurs with the prior consent of the Sahrawi people, cannot do so while operating in Western Sahara under the aegis and authority of Morocco...

The legal complaint highlights the untenable position of the Irish government on this issue. While upholding the right of self-determination of the Sahrawi people, and maintaining that Morocco has the status of a non-sovereign in the territory, the Irish government has simultaneously tolerated Irish companies operating in breach of these positions...

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24 October 2018

Irish Oil Exploration Firm Targeted In Complaint Over Western Sahara Drilling

Author: Dominic Dudley, Forbes

The Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), a U.K. and Ireland-based pressure group, says it has made a formal complaint to the Irish government about oil exploration firm San Leon Energy and its activities in the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

In its complaint, GLAN alleges that San Leon failed to secure the consent of the Western Saharan people (also known as the Sahrawi) before drilling for oil on their land, thereby contravening their human rights...

San Leon [...] has a stake in a number of exploration licenses including the Tarfaya and Zag licenses in Western Sahara...

In its annual report for 2017, San Leon said it was in “ongoing discussions” with the Moroccan authorities over the Zag license. The company said ONHYM had contacted it during the year “to take control of the bank guarantee on Zag and to request a further payment for work not performed”... [I]t believed the situation “should be subject to force majeure due to the security situation”. It also said there was no activity currently planned “on any other Moroccan assets” and the carrying values of those assets, including both Tarfaya and Zag, was reported at zero.

San Leon did not respond to questions for this article about its activities in Morocco or Western Sahara...

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