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RAID vs. Avient

Case overview

Date filed 28 June 2004
Current status Concluded
Issue UK companies & illegal resource exploitation in DRC
Summary of the case In October 2002, a United Nations Panel of Experts accused 85 OECD-based companies of violating the Guidelines for their direct or indirect roles in the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Panel alleged that “elite networks” of political and military elites and businesspersons fueled the conflict in order to retain their control over the country’s vast natural resources.

Avient was cited by the Panel, because of its involvement in military activities, including bombings. The Panel alleged that Avient provided military supplies to both the Congolese Army and the Zimbabwe Defence Force. Also, Avient provided crews for Antonov26 aeroplanes and MI 24 helicopters, which were used in offensive bombings at the time Avient was contracted by the DRC Government. Avient is also alleged to have brokered the sale of six military helicopters to the DRC Government.

Developments/Outcome Although the case was accepted as a specific instance, RAID was locked out of the process. In September 2004, the UK NCP issued a weak statement accepting Avient’s contention that it was working within a contractual arrangement with the officially recognized governments in the area. The NCP’s recommendations merely highlight the existence of a few provisions of the Guidelines, but did not declare breaches or offer specific actions a company is expected to take to remedy the breaches.

Following a September 2006 exposé in the UK’s Sunday Times, RAID called on the UK NCP to reopen the case. RAID had gathered extensive documentation to show that Avient was engaged in mercenary operations in the DRC, including bombing missions. However, given the gravity of the allegations against Avient, the NCP encouraged RAID to contact the UK Attorney General to investigate Avient for complicity in war crimes.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Human rights, Parallel (legal) proceedings, United Nations, Violent conflict

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point United Kingdom
NCP address 1-19 Victoria Street SW1H 0ET London, United Kingdom
NCP website www.berr.gov.uk
Other NCPs involved

Complainant

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible Avient Air
Company address Minton Distribution Park Unit 7
SP4 7RT London
United Kingdom
Company website http://www.avient.aero
Company in violation Avient Air
Country of operations Congo, The Democratic Republic of the
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
15 September 2006 Rights and Accountability in Development RAID calls on the UK NCP to re-open the case. RAID submits extensive documentation to show that Avient was engaged in mercenary operations in the DRC, including bombing missions.  
10 September 2006 Rights and Accountability in Development Press coverage Expose in the UK Sunday Times about Grahem Pelhem’s under cover work for the UN and his discoveries about Avient’s activities during the war. download pdf (775Kb)  
1 February 2005 Rights and Accountability in Development file RAID and Congolese NGOs ACIDH, NDS and CENADEP submit a request to the UK NCP to open a specific instance concerning Avient. download pdf (163Kb)  
8 September 2004 National Contact Point United Kingdom statement The NCP issued a statement in a separate, self-executing process "because" they claim, "of the need to protect the information released by the UN which is 'restricted' but non confidential". download pdf (25Kb)  
28 June 2004 Rights and Accountability in Development file Complaint filed with UK NCP. download pdf (49Kb)  

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