Yesterday the UK government ruled that BP has violated its loan agreements, breaking international rules governing the human rights responsibilities of multinational companies. The breach occured around the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which brings oil from the Caspian Sea, across Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey.
Villagers living along BP’s flagship oil pipeline been struggled to hold the companies accountable for alleged human rights abuses associated with its development.
The ruling follows the Complaint3 lodged under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises4 by six groups5 in April 2003. The UK government backed the pipeline in 2004 through its Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD).6
The ruling states that BP failed to investigate and respond to complaints from local people of intimidation by state security forces in Turkey guarding the pipeline. Local human rights defender Ferhat Kaya, for instance, has reported that he was detained and tortured by the paramilitary police for insisting on fair compensation.7 Villagers allege that they are routinely interrogated when they raise concerns over the pipeline.
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