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Fivas et. al vs Bresser

Case overview

Date filed 28 July 2017
Current status Concluded
Issue Human rights impacts from moving Turkey's Zeynel Bey Tomb
Summary of the case On 28 July 2017, Fivas/Association for International Water Studies, the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive and Hasankeyf Matters filed a complaint with the Dutch NCP regarding Bresser’s role in the relocation of the historic monument, the Zeynel Bey Tomb in Hasankeyf, Turkey. Bresser’s subsidiary Bresser Eurasia was hired by the Turkish Company Er-Bu Insaat, which was contracted by the DSI (Turkey’s State Hydraulics Works) to relocate the Zeynel Bey Tomb, in order to make way for the reservoir of the proposed Illisu Dam. Bresser, and its subsidiary, is a company that performs various motor, renderings and foundation relocation projects. The complaint states that Bresser’s relocation of the culturally significant tomb in May 2017 caused adverse impacts and violated the human right to culture. Mainly, it alleges that Bresser failed to carry out meaningful consultation with the local population and that by relocating and encasing the tomb, the tomb’s value as cultural heritage has been degraded. The complainants request that the Dutch NCP facilitate mediation with the company, while also encouraging the company to halt all activity in Hasankeyf during the handling of the issue. The complainants would like the company to issue a statement acknowledging the human right to cultural heritage and take responsibility for the impacts of their operations. They also ask that the company cease all activity in Hasankeyf until there is a proper consultation with the local population and make sure their activities adhere to the OECD Guidelines, as well as international standards such as the CETS 121. Finally, they ask that Bresser develops a human rights policy that includes ensuring that adequate due diligence is carried out in its operations.
Developments/Outcome On 9 January 2018, the Dutch NCP issued its Initial Assessment stating that the case partly merits further consideration. The NCP states that as Turkey has an NCP, the Dutch NCP’s role is to only examine the role of Bresser, a small Dutch enterprise, a subcontractor of a Turkish contract, operating in Turkey and abroad. For this reason, the Dutch NCP will limit its handling of the case to consider Bresser’s due diligence obligations under the Guidelines in this specific case and will not provide any opinion over the Illisu Dam. The NCP also notes that this is the first specific instance filed on the subject of cultural rights as human rights and concludes that the right to culture and/or the right to cultural heritage and its conservation should be considered a human right under the OECD Guidelines. Furthermore, the NCP states that the handling of this case may help clarify the due diligence obligations of small subcontractor's like Bresser under the Guidelines.

Both parties accepted the NCP’s good offices.

On 20 August 2018, the Dutch NCP issued its final statement in the case. The final statement observes that the internationally-recognized human right to culture falls under protection in Chapter II General Policies, article 2 of the OECD Guidelines. The statement notes that even though Bresser is an SME, the size of an enterprise does not affect its responsibility to conduct due diligence. The statement determines Bresser has not fully satisfied the due diligence criteria of the OECD Guidelines. Finally, the statement offers numerous recommendations to help Bresser bring its activities into compliance with the Guidelines. The Dutch NCP commits to conducting follow-up a year after its issuance of the final statement to determine whether Bresser has implemented the recommendations.

Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Human rights

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Netherlands
NCP address Bezuidenhoutesweg 67 2594 AC The Hague, Netherlands
NCP website http://www.oesorichtlijnen.nl/
Other NCPs involved

Complainants

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible Bresser
Company address
Company website
Company in violation
Country of operations Turkey
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
20 August 2018 National Contact Point Netherlands statement Final statement issued by Dutch NCP download pdf (120Kb)  
9 January 2018 National Contact Point Netherlands accept Initial Assessment accepting the case by the Dutch NCP download pdf (166Kb)  
28 July 2017 Association for International Water Studies file Complaint filed with the Dutch NCP  

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