The Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), a U.K. and Ireland-based legal charity, has filed a complaint against San Leon Energy in relation to its oil exploration activities in Western Sahara. The complaint alleges that San Leon Energy has failed to respect the human rights of indigenous people in Western Sahara (known as the Sahrawi), as it did not obtain their free, prior, and informed consent before engaging in oil exploration activities in the territory. San Leon Energy currently operates in the region under licenses obtained from the Moroccan government. Morocco claims Western Sahara as part of its own territory, even though this is not recognized by most other states and the area is generally viewed as a non-self-governing territory.
GLAN requests the Irish NCP to determine that San Leon Energy‘s activities in Western Sahara are in breach of the OECD Guidelines, and to recommend that San Leon relinquish its license rights in Western Sahara and apologize to the Sahrawi. Furthermore, GLAN requests the NCP to ask the Irish government to advise companies against operating in Western Sahara without free, prior, and informed consent from the Sahrawi.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
On 14 January 2021, the Irish NCP accepted the complaint for further consideration.