In late April 2016, prosecutors in Frankfurt am Main ended investigations into two managers from engineering firm Lahmeyer International. The German-based company played a major role in the construction of the Merowe dam in northern Sudan. Over 30 nearby settlements were completely flooded when the dam began operations in 2008. With ECCHR's support, those affected by the flooding lodged a criminal complaint against two Lahmeyer managers in May 2010. They are accused of bearing part of the responsibility for the displacement and the destruction of the livelihoods of 4,700 families.
The Lahmeyer case is symptomatic of the dangers that large infrastructure projects pose to socio-economic human rights. The flooding – carried out with no warning – forced the Manasir, the population group to which most of the victims belong, from their homeland. They lost not only their homes but also their access to drinking water and food. This is a violation of the rights to adequate housing, food and water and Lahmeyer bears part of the responsibility for these violations. Lahmeyer argues that it was the Sudanese government's job to organize the resettlement. But a European company cannot rely on foreign governments in such circumstances; instead it must take the necessary precautions itself to prevent potential human rights violations.