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14 Sep 2020

Three NGOs file complaint with OECD against Glencore over environmental & human rights harms in Chad

On 10 September 2018, a basin that was holding produced toxic water, a by-product of crude oil production, collapsed at the Badila oilfield in southern Chad. Eighty-five million litres of wastewater (the equivalent of 34 Olympic-sized swimming pools) flooded agricultural fields before pouring into the local Nya Pende River. The incidents left at least 50 local residents living near Glencore’s oil operations with burns, skin lesions, sickness and diarrhoea after bathing in or using the contaminated river water. Many of those harmed were children, some of who required hospitalisation. Livestock drinking from the river also died. More recently, on 21 July 2020, another spill occurred at the Badila oilfield from a waste oil sump, further contaminating the local environment and the river.

In September 2020, three human rights groups, the London-based Rights and Accountability Group (RAID) in conjunction with Chadian groups PILC and Association des Jeunes Tchadiens de la Zone Pétrolière (AJTZP), filed an OECD complaint with the UK's National Contact Point.

The Complainants acknowledge that the UK NCP’s approach to resolving complaints is the first instance to facilitate conciliation or mediation and respectfully request that the NCP offers its good offices to resolve the OECD Guidelines breaches outlined below. The Complainants seek the following outcomes: 1) That Glencore UK commissions independent experts to investigate the September 2018 wastewater spill and the oil leak reported by the customary chief and local residents and all subsequent injuries and loss of livelihoods reported by residents; 2) Glencore UK commissions an independent environmental assessment of the September 2018 and July 2020 wastewater spills as well as the oil leak reported by the customary chief and local residents of communities near the Badila oilfield. Such investigation should be thorough, transparent and include the participation of the local communities...3) Glencore UK guarantees to provide redress and remedy for those already adversely affected including medical support for those still living with injuries. 4) Glencore UK guarantees to remedy any environmental damage resulting from the September 2018 wastewater spill and the oil leak reported by the customary chief and local residents, as well as the July 2020 wastewater spill...

In January 2021, the UK National Contact Point (NCP) accepted the complaint against Glencore and initiated mediation.