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South Korean Civil Society Team v. Korean Western Power

Case overview

Date filed 17 June 2019
Current status Pending
Issue Dam collapse in Laos involving Kexim
Summary of the case On 17 June 2019 a specific instance was filed by South Korean Civil Society Task Force Team in response to the Laos Xe-Pien Xe-Namnoy Dam collapse against the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM), SK Enginerring & Constructurion Co. Ltd. (SK E&C), and Korea Western Power Co. Ltd. at the Korean NCP. The complaint concerns the activities of KEXIM, SK E&C and Korea Western Power in Laos related to the collapse of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Dam. The dam collapsed on 23 July 2018, claiming hundreds of lives and thousands of people were displaced. The complainants allege that KEXIM, SK E&C, and Korea Western Power are responsible for the collapse. Specifically, the complainants alleged that the respondents violated human rights, environment, disclouse and general policy provisions of the Guidelines because there existed a flaw in the design and the constuction of the dam; the damage increased due to the delay in emergency water discharge carried out by SK E&C and Korea Western Power; the failure to take proper initial measures upon the collapse of the dam such as the absence of an evacuation order; the failure to implement safety measures despite the mentioning of an environmental risk response plan in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report; the failure of KEXIM to conduct due diligence in the process of implementing its management and financial advisory contracts; and their refusal to communicate with civil society or to respond to the information disclosure request. Complainants sought mediation from the NCP so that the victims of this tragic collapse can receive adequate remedies.
Developments/Outcome On 25 September 2019 the Korean NCP completed an initial assessment accepting complaints against SK E&C and Korea Western Power, but rejecting complainst against KEXIM. The NCP decided to offer good offices with SK E&C and Korea Western Power, recongising their interest and the signficance of the matter. The NCP said the two companies have interests because, (1) SK E&C was in charge of the design and construction of the dam; (2) Korea Western Power was in charge of operation of the dam after construction; and (3) both are shareholders of PNPC, the joint investment venture and principal agent of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydroelectric project. Therefore, the NCP decided to proceed with the mediation process for the two companies. The mediation process has not started yet.

The Korean NCP excluded KEXIM from the planned mediation process by concluding that the Guidelines are not applicable to KEXIM as the Bank is participating in the project as an Official Development Assistance (ODA) agency. The NCP referred to its own decision in the Jalaur Dam case in 2018 and explained that there is no precedent where any NCP found the Guidelines applicable to an ODA project.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Human rights, Environment, Financial sector

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Korea
NCP address Seoul, Korea, Republic of
NCP website http://www.ncp.or.kr/jsp/kcab_ncp/intro_ncp.jsp
Other NCPs involved

Complainant

Company Information

Company responsible Korean Western Power Co. Ltd.
Company address
Company website
Company in violation
Country of operations Lao People's Democratic Republic
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
25 September 2019 National Contact Point Korea accept Korean NCP accepted case against Korean Western Power and SK E&C. download pdf (257Kb)  
17 June 2019 South Korean Civil Society Task Force Team file Complainant filed case to Korean NCP. download pdf (1693Kb)  

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