The complaint filed by ADHRB against Condor Non-Lethal Technologies focuses on the companys role in violating human rights in Bahrain as a tear gas supplier to the Bahrain government. The complainants argue that Condor violated the OECD Guidelines when the tear gas products sold to Bahrain were subsequently used to violate the human rights of Bahraini citizens. The tear gas canisters manufactured by Condor were specifically linked to the death of a Bahraini citizen after he inhaled tear gas chemicals following an extreme police crackdown on protestors in the village of Bilad al-Qadeem in January 2015.
The complaint specifically relates to the extremely violent response of the Bahrain government to peaceful demonstrators in February 2011. The complaint asserts that as part of its response the Bahrain government uses tear gas in a manner that causes serious bodily injuries and deaths and have hence repurposed tear gas as a weapon to be used against the political opposition rather than as a tool for crowd control.
The complaint alleges that Condor knew or should have known of the Bahrain governments human rights abuses following the use of excessive and disproportionate force on peaceful demonstrators in 2011, but nevertheless allowed its products to directly cause or contribute to the human rights violations in Bahrain without seeking ways to prevent or mitigate the effects of those violations. Moreover, the complaint allege that failed to properly promulgate a human rights policy and failed to carry out appropriate human rights due diligence.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
- Chapter II
- Chapter II Paragraph A10
- Chapter II Paragraph A7
- Chapter IV
- Chapter IV Paragraph 1
- Chapter IV Paragraph 2
- Chapter IV Paragraph 3
- Chapter IV Paragraph 4
- Chapter IV Paragraph 5
- Chapter IV Paragraph 6
The French NCP conducted an initial assessment and accepted the case for consideration in September 2015. The French NCP interviewed representatives from both parties, then offered mediation services, which SAE Alsetex refused.
The NCP then closed the case in April 2016 and adopted a draft statement by consensus, with the exception of one trade union organisation. The draft statement was then agreed upon by both parties on 4 July 2016.
The final statement observed that:
–SAE Alsetex was in full compliance with French regulations. The statement concluded that, in this case, the French government had carried out the due diligence recommended by the OECD and that, by complying with the governments decisions, which the NCP has no mandate to evaluate, the enterprise was, ipso facto, in compliance with the requirements of responsible business conduct vis-à-vis human rights.
–States have the duty to protect human rights and that it is not in the mandate of the NPC to decide on actions carried out by government authorities. By adhering to the 2011 embargo, SAE Alsetex did not contribute to human rights violations in Bahrain.
–While SAE Alsetex does take some risk-based due diligence measures, those measures should be formalised.
–SAE Alsetex does not yet have, but is in the process of drafting, a policy for responsible business conduct addressing human rights risks.
The French NCP encouraged SAE Alsetex to take into account both the OECD Guidelines and ADHRB’s comments in its responsible business conduct (RBC) policy, to formalize its in-house due diligence procedures, and to make the policy public. The NCP encouraged SAE Alsetex to consider requesting a non-re-export certificate. The NCP also encouraged SAE Alsetex to assess the extent to which customers have understood the recommended use parameters for SAE Alsetex’s products. The NCP suggested that if a customer (such as the Bahraini security forces) repeatedly fails to fulfill its commitments, then SAE Alsetex should suspend or terminate its business relationship with that customer.