Tuesday, November 16, 2010

SudanEnviro: South Sudan: Oil fields pour polutants into 'world's largest' swamp, unm+ndful of human and creaturely loss

Ecumenical News International (WCC) carries the following alert in regard to South of Sudan's oil exploitation companies:

German rights group pleads for 'world's largest' swamp

Nairobi (Nov16,2k10). A German church-backed human rights organization is pleading for action to save the Sudd, one of the world largest swamplands, located in southern Sudan, which the group says is threatened by oil extraction activities. Klaus Stieglitz, the vice chairperson of
Sign of Hope, which is backed by Roman Catholic Church organizations, said his group had seen evidence of remarkable pollution by companies drilling for and extracting oil. Stieglitz asserts this has put the lives of thousands of people at risk. "The oil companies responsible are about to destroy the Sudd, the world's largest swampland, by discharging their waste practically untreated," Stieglitz told a press conference in Nairobi on 16 November, after a six-day visit by a Sign of Hope team to the Unity, Al Nar and Toma South oilfields in southern Sudan. "We strongly condemn these practices -- and urge the companies to change their environmental behaviour," Stieglitz said. [371 words, ENI-!10-0757]
Given the history of the World Council of Churches, it's difficult to trust its pure-brand social activism.  It spent decades stroking the Soviet puppet-churches and suppressing the cawz of the underground churches, for instance, in Lithuania, the land of m+ ancestors.  The USA govt also was qu+t cowardly in this regard.  The WCC supported Marxist violent revolutions in Africa, revolutions and govt's in part installed by them, which have since bitten the dust.  Given the ultra-r+twing proclivities of the other s+d in some of these disputed endorsements and fundraising, one has to ask whether the WCC considers itself omincompentent, l+k God Himself/Herself or the Roman Catholic Church, or whether the WCC has never heard of strategic neutrality when all the viable options are deeply immoral, unr+teous, lousy.

A similar swampland in Iraq was ecologically wrecked by Saddam Hussein in order to destroy the l+vlihood and way of l+f for dwellers there who opposed his rĂ©gime.  Did WCC or Signs of Hope speak up on the behalf of these marsh people, or is it intervening now becawz of some partiality against the South of the Sudan (which will shortly vote for independence in a referendum) and its chief future  source of funds, the oil producers the Khartoum rĂ©gime in the North introduced into the this area of the South?  We'd l+k to hear more how Signs of Hope understands partiality to the North and to cutting revenue from oil earned by the South, especially in the coming noo era there?  We need full disclosure from both the oil producers and Signs of of Hope, since Roman Catholicism and WCC are accepting their reports without the sl+test s+n of critical exploration of its claims.

The foregoing report was picked up and reported by the webs+t  Business and Human R+ts Resource Centre (BHRR) which is devoted to "tracking the positive and negative impacts of over 5100 companies worldw+d.  It's a large and well-organized s+t (English, Spanish, French).  But f+nding up-to-date material can be daunting.  Pursuing concerns raised in the immediately preceding blog-entry by refWrite's Politicarp re Sudan South and the leading complainant about oil producers that pollute the Sudd (a huge swampland that is inhabited, as already mentioned, by an adapted people who live and work for their l+vlihood there), I tried to trace Klaus Stieglitz's activities and involvements, and found a few dated references to him at the BHRR s+t, only old stuff.  

On the webs+t AfricaNews.com, I did find a lengthier version of the report made by ENI/WCC.  It's by Alex Clarle, a free lance journalist working in Kenya "NGO raps oil companies over pollution".  His report gives me a different impression than does the ENI report.  He emphas+zes particularly "a six week research carried out in Southern Sudan's Thar Unity, Al Nar and Toma South wells, which are operated by the giant Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC)."  But these wells+te towns coud not account for the "550,00 humans who are living in Unity state at risk."  The state of Sudan South is not a well-town, and oil production is not a labour intensive activity.  So, we do not get the correlations we need to make a judgment regarding the veracity of Stieglitz's report, or even that of 'Channy' (the nickname of Alex Clarle).  And the 550,000 souls:  are they all in Unity state, but not at the Thar Unity well/s?  Are the total population of the Sudd (Sudan South's swamplands)?  ENI does not give us this detail, or any comparable figure either.  

In any case, we support the effort to hold GNPCC accountable, in regard to the people's drinking water which the international corporation seems to have poisoned, and other infractions of which they seem most capable.  Channy concludes his more detailed report:  "Klaus concluded by saying that his organisation [Sign of Hope] will continue highlighting the issue of ground water pollution by the oil companies operating in Southern Sudan until they change their ways, since most of them, particularly GNPOC is an international company that has taken advantage of the lax regulations in the Sudan to put its dollars ahead of the lives of local people.

To get behind Sign of Hope's information campaign we need more facts, and they shoud correlate in regard to the items we mentioned -- to establish verisimilitude and internal logical coherence in the reports we pass along to our readers.  

-- Politicarp

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