The title of the criminal complaint filed this Tuesday by Sherpa, an NGO specializing in the rights of man, gives cold in the back : “financing of terrorism”, “crimes of war and against humanity”, “endangering the lives of others”, “forced labour”… It aims for the Lafarge company, cador’s CAC 40 before merger-absorption with the swiss Holcim, for its activities in Syria. And his contacts with the islamic State (EI).
Lafarge, cement worker by profession, operates since 2012, a factory-syrian located in Jalabiya. An investment of 600 million euros. When starts the civil war, it is very quickly subjected to the racket of the various factions of the syrian opposition to the regime of Bashar al-Assad (Kurdish, free syrian Army, Front al-Nostra…) before switching permanently under the thumb of Daech in 2013.
“Sacrifice employees on the altar of profitability”
contrary to other French companies (Total, Air Liquide…) who have packed their bags, Lafarge remains on site, doing more or less front to keep his beloved plant. “It is the only one to remain in Syria, sacrificing employees on the altar of cost effectiveness”, denounced Marie-Dosed, one of the lawyers from Sherpa, editor of the complaint. A first component aims as well the endangerment of its employees, objects of kidnappings and hostage-taking, but their employer does not pay ransom. Lafarge was simply to repatriate its officers européeens, leaving its local employees at the mercy of the factions.
Then, Lafarge has seemed a little embarrassed to deal financially with the AR taking control of the north-east of Syria. Passes, purchase of raw material, revolutionary taxes, is trading more or less kindly. Lafarge would be spent on the fund, hence the charge of funding terrorism. Under the cover of a “simple paper hand-written with the stamp of the ministry of the islamic State”, shows an employee on the spot.
“A major employer in the region,”
“The case of Lafarge demonstrates how the multinational companies operating in conflict zones can the power”, says the european Centre for human and constitutional rights (ECCHR), which is attached to the complaint and a Sherpa lining. The multinational franco-swiss retorted, waving his “code of business conduct”,, saying that an internal investigation is underway to detect its possible violation.
In a statement, Lafarge justifies the retention of its factory, especially because the site Jalabya “was a major employer in the region” and claimed to have closed the “in September 2014 when the conflict is approached” a little more of its cement plant.