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Equatorial Guinea: Oil cos. urged to denounce attack on human rights defender; Total & Clontarf Energy responded

Alfredo Okenve, a leading civil society activist and vice-president of the Center for Development Studies and Initiatives (CEID), was severely beaten up at gunpoint on 27 October 2018. Plain-clothed policemen carried out a prolonged attack, before abandoning him on deserted land. Equatorial Guinea has twice attempted to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) – a leading multi-stakeholder initiative for transparency and good governance in the extractives sector. These applications were both rejected due to unjustified crackdowns on civil society activists. Several international civil society organizations called on oil companies, especially those on the board of or supportive of the EITI, to denounce the attack on Alfredo Okenve as unfit for a country wishing to rejoin the EITI initiative. We reached out to these companies for a public response; Total & Clontarf Energy responded. 

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Company non-response
4 December 2018

Chevron did not respond

Company response
3 December 2018

Clontarf's response re: attack on a defender in Equatorial Guinea

I’ve just seen this but we do not know Alfredo Okenve or anything about the attack on him. We are not currently operating in Equatorial Guinea. I’m unsure why you are interested in our opinion.  Is it suggested that industry was in any way involved with this matter?

Like most reasonable people, we believe in the Rule of Law and hope that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

Article
3 December 2018

Equatorial Guinea: Int'l civil society orgs. call on oil cos. to denounce attack on human rights defender

Author: Publish What You Pay

"News: Civil society leader and leading human rights activist attacked in Equatorial Guinea", 5 Nov 2018

Plain-clothed security officers in Equatorial Guinea have reportedly severely beaten and stabbed Alfredo Okenve, a leading civil society activist and Vice-president of the Center for Development Studies and Initiatives (CEID). Okenve said the men forced him out of his car at gunpoint on 27 October and carried out a prolonged attack, before abandoning him on deserted land. [I]nternational organisations...strongly condemn[ed] this brutal assault... Equatorial Guinea’s government has not responded to requests for comment on the allegations... Equatorial Guinea has twice attempted to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)... These applications... were both rejected due to unjustified crackdowns on civil society activists,... The country is applying for a third time to join the EITI this year, as a precondition for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to consider giving the government a loan. We urge the EITI to consider this new application only if the government of Equatorial Guinea addresses civic space issues seriously and consistently, and brings those responsible for the recent attack on Alfredo Okenve to justice. We also call for oil companies operating in Equatorial Guinea – especially on the EITI Board – and other EITI-supporting companies to immediately denounce this attack as unfit for a country wishing to rejoin the initiative.

Read the full post here

Company non-response
3 December 2018

ExxonMobil did not respond

Company non-response
3 December 2018

Kosmos Energy did not respond

Company non-response
3 December 2018

Marathon Oil did not respond

Article
3 December 2018

Noble Energy did not respond

Company non-response
3 December 2018

Ophir Energy did not respond

Company response
3 December 2018

Total's response re: attack on a defender in Equatorial Guinea

Author: Total

Thank you for bringing to our attention the article published par Publish What You Pay on 5th November 2018 regarding this case in Equatorial Guinea.

As you may know, Equatorial Guinea is in the very first stage of preparing its candidacy for consideration of its compliance with the EITI Standard, which includes the capacity of the State to maintain a context permitting the proper participation of civil society.

Total is a board member of the EITI since 2002, and actively promotes transparency and respect for human rights and stakeholders where we operate.

Publish What You Pay and Total each have appointed EITI board members who have access to the EITI. It is open to those representatives to raise this issue with the EITI Secretariat.

From our company’s perspective, compliance with EITI Standards are integrated into our activities, Total continues to develop its business activities worldwide as a responsible member of the communities that we serve.

At Total Group level, in April 2018, Total issued its second Human Rights Briefing Paper based on the United Nations Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, where we provide an overview of our progress, challenges and continuing efforts in our journey to further embed respect for human rights and to address salient human rights issues relating to our business activities. This report is available at: https://www.sustainable-performance.total.com/sites/shared/sustainable/files/atoms/files/total_-
_human_rights_briefing_paper_update_april_2018.pdf