Lafarge: Accusation of crimes against humanity and complicity in war crimes

The NGOs Sherpa and the ECCHR (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights) have filed a criminal complaint against the French group Lafarge. The world’s leading cement producer and its Syrian branch Lafarge Cement Syria (LCS) is accused of having maintained business relations with the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS)- and thus supporting terrorist activities- as well as complicity in war crimes, endangerment of people and forced labour.

Information indicates that in order to maintain its production, LCS paid intermediaries to negotiate with IS to purchase raw materials in the areas of Rakka and Manbij since 2013. The company also seems to have paid IS officials to obtian official passes for checkpoints. The company returned most of its foreign wokers to their home countries when the crisis began in Syria, however Syrian employees remained at work. This exposed Syrian workers at the factories to significant danger, such as crossing checkpoints controlled by ISIS during periods of intense fighting, or being required to stay overnight at the factory. According to workers at the factory LCS did not take adequate protection measures and there waas no evacuation plan at the factory.

Lafarge emphasized in an official statement that the company had already withdrawn from Syria in 2014, but failed to acknowledge most of the charges with regard to its relations with IS.

It was the first time that non-profit organizations have accused a company of financing terrorist organizations and complicity in war crimes, Laetitia Liebert (Sherpa) said. The process takes account of the interdependencies of globally operating companies which can come into conflict in crisis regions through their business relations. Lafarge is a subsidiary of LafargeHolcim.

According to Thomson ONE, the Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, DekaBank, LBBW, Union Investment and the Allianz maintain business relations with Lafarge.

Further information here:
French company Lafarge sued for financing ISIS and complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria
Sherpa: Lafarge sued for Financing ISIS
Statement from LafargeHolcim regarding its operations in Syria
LafargeHolcim: Major shareholders

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