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20 Jan 2020

Renewables Now

New complaint says 288-MW Norwegian wind farm violated Sami rights

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Swiss energy company BKW Energie AG is facing a complaint under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises for its failure to protect the rights of the Southern Sami people in Norway during planning and construction of Fosen Vind’s 288-MW Storheia wind farm...

BKW has an indirect stake of 11.2%, according to information by STP. The latter says the Swiss utility has not taken actions to comply with its human rights due diligence obligations in respect of the wind project, nor used its influence as an investor to help find a friendly solution...

STP said the project violates international agreements and human rights conventions. With the complaint it wants BKW to adjust its internal guidelines and improve its human rights due diligence, introduce a complaints mechanism that local and indigenous communities can use, and respect the land rights of indigenous communities in future projects.

In December 2018, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights asked the Norwegian government to stop the construction of the wind park because of an earlier complaint by Sami reindeer herders. The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy saw no basis for halting work on the project at the time, saying it had passed through all legal inspections.