Sierra Leone: Swedwatch raises concerns incl. pollution & land loss for communities impacted by bioenergy project; incl. co non-response

On 28 March 2019, Swedwatch published an article raising concerns including pollution, land loss and relocation from religious sites, with regard to new plans for community relocation following resumption of the Addax Bionenergy project in 2016.

The project was initially owned by oil and gas company Addax & Oryx Group and partly funded by several European Development Finance Institutions. In 2015, the DFIs exited the project citing financial challenges and the project was drastically downscaled. The human rights impacts of the stall were highlighted in the 2017 Swedwatch report “No Business, No Rights”.

The project is today owned by British-Chinese company Sunbird Bioenergy. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Sunbird Bioenergy to respond to concerns that the project continues to pose human rights challenges to the community. The company did not respond. More information related to the project is available on Sunbird Bioenergy's website here.

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All components of this story

Company non-response
23 April 2019

Sunbird Bioenergy did not respond

Article
19 April 2019

Sierra Leone bioenergy project poses new challenges to communities

Author: Swedwatch

[T]he Addax Bioenergy project was established in Sierra Leone in 2010...

It was initially owned by oil and gas company Addax & Oryx Group and partly funded by several European Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) including Swedish Swedfund and Dutch FMO. Already in 2015, the DFIs exited the project...

The impacts of the stall [...] were highlighted in the 2017 Swedwatch report “No Business, No Rights.”

The Addax project was resumed in 2016 and is today owned by British-Chinese company Sunbird Bioenergy...

Sunbird Bioenergy shared the relocation plans at a multi-stakeholder meeting in March 2019 where the community was informed that the relocation would likely start in 2020...

[T]he community members feel they are today left with two equally bad options; they cannot stay due to the pollution and the closeness to the factory, while a relocation entails a number of risks such as losing access to vital land. Furthermore, the area that the community will be relocated from holds important religious sites...

Swedwatch calls for the project owners to develop responsible exit strategies and to provide communities with access to effective remedy, in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Furthermore, continuous human rights due diligence should be conducted, during and after the relocation.

Read the full post here