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NGOs vs UK Defence Equipment Company

Case overview

Date filed 6 June 2016
Current status Rejected
Issue Human impacts impacts by munitions supplied to Saudi Arabi
Summary of the case On 6 June 2016, two NGOs (one from the USA and one from Germany) filed a complaint to the UK NCP against a UK defence equipment company that supplied munitions to the Saudi Arabian government. The complainants allege that the companys munitions were used in a raid in April 2015 on a village in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia that resulted in human rights violations. The complainants stated that the company breached the Guidelines by failing to address the human rights impacts of its operations and business relationships.

Between June and August 2016, the NCP communicated with the parties separately. The UK offered to meet with both parties to explain the process, but neither party accepted. In its response, the UK company stated the products referred to in the complaint were covered by a valid UK government export license, in which the UK government makes a human rights assessment when deciding whether or not to grant an export license.

In its 14 October 2016 Initial Assessment, the UK NCP does not accept the specific instance for further examination citing a lack of substantiation of the claims regarding the specific incident made by the NGOs (as the use of the products in the raid could not be verified as the complainants source was anonymous) and stated that the company approach to reply on the UK governments export licensing procedure as a human rights risk assessment was appropriate. The UK NCP also rejected the complaint stating that it would not serve the purpose and effectiveness of the Guidelines- nor be fair- to oblige one particular company to be held accountable for activities that other companies also undertake on the pretext of a specific link that cannot be verified.
Developments/Outcome
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Human rights, Violent conflict

NCP Information

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

Complainant

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible UK Defence Equipment Company
Company address
Company website
Company in violation UK defense company supplying to Saudi Arabia
Country of operations Saudi Arabia
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
14 October 2016 National Contact Point United Kingdom initial assessment The UK NCP publishes its finalized Initial Assessment after discussing with both parties and rejecting the complaint as being unsubstantiated and not furthering the effectiveness of the Guidelines. download pdf (305Kb)  
6 June 2016 Unknown NGO file Two NGOs (one from the USA and one from Germany) file a Specific Instance complaint to the UK NCP.  

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