Displaying items by tag: Islamic State
Iraq: Islamic State militants have set the Badoosh cement plant in western Mosul on fire. Major Ali Mohsen, an officer of the Counter-Terrorism Service, said that the plant had been looted and then set on fire, according to the Iraq News newspaper. He added that security forces had killed 15 militants and wounded three others in local fighting. The clashes are part of the Islamic State group’s action against attempts by Iraqi government forces to retake the region.
France: The French government has confirmed that it is investigating Lafarge over alleged illegal activities in Syria following European Union (EU) sanctions that were imposed in 2012. The Paris prosecutor's office said that a probe was opened in October 2016 after the French Ministry of Economy and Finance filed a complaint against the cement producer, according to the Associated Press. LafargeHolcim, the company formed from a merger between Lafarge and Holcim in 2015, said that it was, “in the process of establishing the facts concerning our activities in Syria.”
A group led by the non-government organisation (NGO) Sherpa filed a complaint in Paris against Lafarge for allegedly ‘financing terrorism’ in November 2016. The complaint accused it of maintaining commercial relations with the Islamic State group in Syria in 2013 and 2014 so it could continue operating a cement plant in the country.
At the time, Lafarge denied ‘financing so-called terrorist groups.’ The company said it had launched a ‘thorough and independent investigation’ into the allegations to determine whether its internal code of conduct had been properly followed and if procedures needed to be adapted. It said it would implement ‘any remediation measures required.’
Sherpa and European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights take legal action against Lafarge over operations in Syria16 November 2016
France: Sherpa and the ECCHR (European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights), as well as 11 complainants who are former Syrian employees of Lafarge, are taking legal action against Lafarge and its subsidiary Lafarge Cement Syria (LCS) for its actions in Syria. The non-government organisations have accused the cement producer of conducting business with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a terrorist group, via its Jalabiya cement plant.
“The Lafarge case highlights once again how multinationals doing business in conflict zones can directly fuel armed conflicts and contribute to grave human rights violations committed therein. Companies like Lafarge must be held accountable,” said Miriam Saage-Maaß, Vice Legal Director at ECCHR.
Sherpa and the ECCHR have accused LCS of entering into arrangements with ISIS in order to maintain production, by paying for passes issued by the jihadist organisation and buying raw materials necessary for cement production such as oil and pozzolana in areas under ISIS’s control. They have also accused Lafarge of reckless endangerment given that the plant continued to operate in the conflict zone. LCS repatriated its expatriate staff in 2012 but it kept its Syrian employees working at the site. Subsequently, when the plant was attacked, Sherpa and the ECCHR say that the local employees were forced to escape on their own.
Syria: LafargeHolcim has dodged accusations by La Monde that Lafarge entered into deals with armed groups in Syria, including Islamic State (IS), to protect its business interests in the country. In a statement LafargeHolcim said that its first priority was the safety and security of its employees at its Jalabiyeh cement plant before it eventually closed the plant. It did not deny the accusations.
Le Monde reported it had seen letters sent by Lafarge managers in Syria revealing arrangements that Lafarge made with the jihadist group to continue production until 19 September 2014 and to arrange access for staff and supplies. The French newspaper also alleges that Lafarge bought licences from and paid taxes to IS middle-men and oil traders.
Lafarge operated the 3Mt/yr Jalabiyeh cement plant from 2010 to 2014. In September 2014, Lafarge stopped operating the plant. After that, all employees were evacuated, put on paid leave and were no longer allowed to access the plant. In December 2014 Lafarge decided to terminate all employee contracts, and where possible, transfer employees to other parts of the group.