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17 May 2015

Sri Lanka: Holcim accused of sponsoring military propaganda & rehabilitation camps linked to torture

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Note: Full story currently only available in German here. This is an unofficial English summary by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. We invited Holcim to respond - its response is available below.

Research by the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) claims that Holcim was closely cooperating with the Sri Lankan army for several years. Besides sponsoring cement for military propaganda (war museum in Killinochi, several war monuments in the North of Sri Lanka still in evidence), Holcim has supported a vocational training programme in masonry for former Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam members in rehabilitation camps in the North and East of the country. Different national and international human rights organisation have alleged that torture and sexual violence are systematically taking place in the rehabilitation camps. 

STP requests Holcim to immediately intercede with the Sri Lankan army and insist on the complete removal of their sponsoring plaques at the war museum and monuments. Additionally, Holcim should actively support Sri Lanka in its accountability and reconciliation process. Furthermore, STP calls on Holcim to respect human rights and monitor the human rights due diligence in their entire value chain on a regular basis and ensure that no human rights are abused through their actions and those of their suppliers and service providers in Sri Lanka.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Holcim to respond. The response by Holcim is provided below. Comments by a Holcim spokesperson provided here (only in German).