Caritas-France Targets Oil Exploitation in Sudan

Calls on Companies to Suspend Activities

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PARIS, JUNE 14, 2001 ( Caritas-France has launched a campaign in Europe against the exploitation of oil in war-torn Sudan.

In a statement, Caritas said it «invites the oil companies involved in the exploitation, production and sale of petroleum in Sudan to suspend their activities immediately, until the necessary conditions are achieved for a just and lasting peace, and the victims of forced displacements can return to their places of origin.»

The Church´s charitable group is working with more than 50 nongovernmental organizations in the endeavor.

The organizations supporting the campaign appeal to «those foreign companies, owners of inactive concessions, as is the case of Total-Fina-ELF, to abstain from all activity while there is no peace agreement signed in Sudan, and to publicly denounce any violation of human rights, such as the bombing of civilian targets and the forced displacement of the population.»

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 3 million Sudanese need immediate food aid. Moreover, the Catholic Information Office for Sudan reports that the bombing of civilian targets continues, contrary to official statements made May 24 by the Khartoum government to suspend aerial attacks.

Caritas-France points out that oil revenues give financial support to a 18-year-old conflict that has caused 2 million deaths.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to forbid foreign oil companies doing business in Sudan from selling stock or other securities in the United States.

The legislation, passed on a 422-2 vote, also would prohibit companies that operate in Sudan outside the oil industry from marketing their securities in the United States unless they fully disclose to the Securities and Exchange Commission their dealings with the African nation.

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