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Roma People vs Norwegian Church Aid

Case overview

Date filed 22 June 2011
Current status Rejected
Issue Hazardous conditions in NCA refugee camps in Kosovo
Summary of the case The complaint against Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) was filed by American attorney Dianne Post representing 129 Roma refugees. The complaint alleges NCA violated provisions of the OECD Guidelines General Policies, Human Rights and Environment chapters. According to the complainants, the violations took place after the 1999 NATO bombing of Kosovo. Roma who did not flee Kosovo were placed in camps for internally displaced persons. The camps were allegedly located on land contaminated with lead or land which was used as a toxic waste dump site. As a result, the inhabitants of the camps experienced severe health problems.

Although NCA did not itself set up the camps, it managed one camp in the region on behalf of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo and later on behalf of the local government. According to the complainants, exposure to lead poisoning as well as the lack of basic hygiene food resulted had a significant negative impact on the health of the inhabitants of the camps. Since NCA managed the camp, the complainants hold NCA responsible for the negative health impacts.
Developments/Outcome The Norwegian NCP forwarded the complaint to NCA, who argued that it merely acted as camp manager and was not responsible for the poor location and set-up of the camps. NCA further responded that it had unsuccessfully advocated for appropriate relocation sites for the Roma, for medical treatment and for sufficient land and income-generating opportunities which would enable all families to be relocated and the camps permanently closed.

Despite the complainants arguments that NCA should be considered a multinational enterprise (MNE) since it receives nearly half of its income from public funds and operates internationally, the Norwegian NCP concluded that NCA cannot be considered an MNE as understood under the OECD Guidelines, and received support for this assessment at the OECD Annual NCP Meeting 27 June 2011. The NCP thus declared the case inadmissible as a specific instance. As a result, the NCP did not consider the substance of the claim nor whether the OECD Guidelines had been breached.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Health and safety, Human rights, Environment

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Norway
NCP address Oslow 0032, Norway
NCP website http://www.regjeringen.no/nb/dep/ud/tema/norgesfremme-og-kultursamarbeid.html?id=434499
Other NCPs involved

Complainant

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible Norwegian Church Aid
Company address
Company website
Company in violation Norwegian Church Aid
Country of operations Norway
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
30 August 2011 National Contact Point Norway initial assessment Initial assessment download pdf (795Kb)  
22 June 2011 National Contact Point Norway file Complaint against NCA download pdf (547Kb)  

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