Bresser not complying in relocation of Hasankeyf tomb
The Zeynel Bey Tomb is a late-15th-century monument of extraordinary cultural value and a symbol of the rich cultural heritage of the region.
The Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive (Turkey), Hasankeyf Matters (Turkey), and the Association for International Water Studies (FIVAS, Norway) have released a statement to underline that Bresser’s conduct in last year’s relocation of the Zeynel Bey Tomb did not comply with OECD Guidelines.
The Dutch NCP (Dutch National Contact Point) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises has concluded that Bresser, a small to medium-size Dutch enterprise, has not fully met the expectations and satisfied the due diligence criteria of the OECD Guidelines” in the project to relocate the Zeynel Bey Tomb, in Hasankeyf, in Southeastern Turkey.
The tomb is a late-15th-century monument of extraordinary cultural value and a symbol of the rich cultural heritage of the region. Its relocation impacts the human right to culture of the affected people. Companies of all sizes are expected to consider and minimize the potential impact of their activities on human rights.
The NCP notes that Bresser made some effort to carry out due diligence with regard to the involvement of the local community, but recommends that Bresser adopt a more structural approach before engaging into a project, in order to avoid contributing to adverse human rights impacts. In order to avoid a violation of the human right to culture, a broad consultation with all stakeholders, including the local community, should have been conducted prior to the removal of the Zeynel Bey Tomb. The NCP’s statement also confirms that under the Guidelines, companies of all sizes, regardless of their location in the supply chain, are responsible for conducting adequate due diligence in order to prevent adverse impacts to human rights, including the right to culture/the right to cultural heritage and its conservation.
The organisations that filed the notifications said: “It is alarming to observe that Bresser continues to assist Er-Bu and the DSI in the removal of select architectural elements. On August 6, the historic hamam (bath) was relocated using techniques similar to those used in removing the tomb, but now with even less transparency/public disclosure. The project continues to exclude a broad cross-section of relevant stakeholders, including the local community and independent experts in cultural heritage conservation, from the selection of monuments, the manner of removal, and their future location”.
While the final statement makes clear that Bresser’s actions and policies have not fully met the expectations established in the Guidelines, the fact that Bresser continues to participate in the removal of Hasankeyf monuments, with virtually no change in its behavior, raises questions about how the OECD Guidelines can help commercial enterprises to identify potential synergies between ethical corporate behavior and the creation of economic value.
The organisations called upon Bresser “to halt all work in Hasankeyf until the cultural heritage conservation project is conducted in a way that meets the expectations established in the Guidelines”.