RAID vs. Das Air
|Date filed||28 June 2004|
|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). DAS AIR, one of the largest air transport companies operating in the Great Lakes Region, was cited by the Panel, because of its involvement in the coltan trade. The coltan, originating in the eastern DRC, was exploited in an illicit trade condemned by the UN Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for its financing of occupying forces and rebel militias. The Panel alleged that DAS Air was involved in the transportation of coltan from the eastern DRC to the benefit of the Ugandan backed RCD-ML rebel force. DAS Air thereby operated civilian aircraft in a conflict zone, in contravention of international conventions governing civil aviation.
|Developments/Outcome||DAS Air denied the allegations in the complaint and strongly objected to the allegations that it contributed to the ongoing conflict in the DRC and to human rights’ abuses. The company firmly denied that it had ever knowingly transported coltan sourced from the DRC, explaining it believed the coltan it flew out of Kigali originated in Kigali. RAID provided detailed flight logs and other evidence gathered by the Porter Commission – a Ugandan judicial commission set up to investigate illegal exploitation in the DRC – to support its case.
At the meeting that took place in November 2006 with representatives of the NCP's Joint Working Group, Minister Ian McCartney pledged that all the UN Panel cases would be concluded within six months after which a statement would be made to parliament. But there subsequently long delays in bringing the case to a conclusion.
RAID was, however, appreciative of the efforts that the NCP took to seek the advice of the International
Civil Aviation Authority and the British Freight Forwarders Association.
In October 2007, a year after the European Community had imposed a ban on its aircraft, DAS
Air was forced into administration. The NCP continued to liaise with the administrators in its efforts to conclude the case.
In July 2008, a strongly worded final statement was issued. For the first time in any specific instance,
the NCP concluded that DAS Air breached the human rights provision by flying into a conflict zone in contravention of international civil aviation regulations. DAS Air was also found to have failed to undertake due diligence with regard to its supply chain; the company's contention that it did not know the source of the minerals it was transporting was rejected given its "intimate understanding of the situation and the conflict."
The NCP did not make a determination in relation to events that occurred before the year 2000, but it took past behaviour into account in its final assessment of DAS Air’s activities. There is concern that this treatment of past conduct is inconsistent with the retrospective application of the 2000 Guidelines established in the Anglo American case.
|Relevant OECD Guidelines|
|Case keywords||Supply chain, Human rights, Parallel (legal) proceedings, United Nations, Violent conflict|
|NCP name||National Contact Point United Kingdom|
|NCP address||1-19 Victoria Street SW1H 0ET London, United Kingdom|
|Other NCPs involved||
|Company responsible||Dairo Air Services|
|Company in violation||Dairo Air Services|
|Country of operations||Congo, The Democratic Republic of the|
|Other companies involved||
Timeline of developments
|21 July 2008||Rights and Accountability in Development||press release||RAID issued a press release||download pdf (35Kb)|
|21 July 2008||press release||The UK government's Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform issues a press release regarding the case.||download pdf (34Kb)|
|1 July 2008||National Contact Point United Kingdom||statement||In a final statement, the National Contact Point upheld the complaint lodged by campaign group RAID. The NCP judged that the airline broke a flight ban between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between June 2000 and December 2001.||download pdf (67Kb)|
|28 June 2004||Rights and Accountability in Development||file||Complaint filed with UK NCP.||download pdf (49Kb)|