On 25 August 2023, United Nations experts focusing on human rights, environment, and climate change published a communication addressed to Saudi Aramco as well as their financiers and their respective home countries (Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, and France) where they “express [their] most serious concern regarding the adverse impacts on human rights caused by activities such as the exploitation of fossil fuels which contribute to climate change,” and request further information and comments regarding certain allegations made in a complaint filed in September 2021 by an activist group.
The complaint in question alleges that the oil company’s policies and practices “clearly contribute to climate change and to the related adverse human rights impacts”, and that “there is a serious risk that [Saudi Aramco’s financiers] are non-compliant with their responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.”
Whilst communications issued by UN Experts are not per se binding, it is foreseeable that this communication may be relied on in further domestic or international proceedings.
In the enclosed article, our Ali Al Zarooni and Rodrigo Carè look into the history of climate change litigation, including the well-known Milieudefensie and Urgenda cases that have paved the way for actions against fossil fuel producers. The article discusses further how evidence from United Nations procedures has been used in the past in the context of domestic litigation, and how the recent developments may affect the status quo for the Middle-East oil-producing economies.
The full article is available here : https://www.lexismiddleeast.com/eJournal/2023-09-19_69/?V=pdf