Media Centre

Statement on the SOCO International AGM

Following allegations of human rights abuses, bribery and corruption the Church Commissioners and Pensions Board have raised serious concerns with SOCO International and its board since November 2013 and intensively since December 2014. Our concerns specifically address four main areas relating to the company's operations in and around Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The four main areas are:

• The instigation of a wide ranging and transparent independent enquiry of SOCO's operations in and around Virunga National Park.

• Amendment of the previously issued statement agreed between SOCO and WWF to remove any room for doubt about SOCO's intentions within existing or future boundaries of a World Heritage site so that there are, without exception, no circumstances in which SOCO would conduct further exploration or production activities in the Virunga National Park or any other World Heritage site.

• The adoption of best practice standards. We remain concerned that the company's management policies still do not include a commitment to comply with the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and that the company is not a participant in the Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights.

• Corporate governance: We remain unclear as to the scope, extent and timeframe of the review of the Board, undertaken by the Senior Independent Director.

We remain deeply concerned about the way in which SOCO has sought to address these issues. Therefore at the AGM held on the 10th June we asked the board that urgent consideration is given so that an independent Chairman may be appointed to ensure SOCO openly and transparently address the concerns of shareholders.

We will now continue our own rigorous internal assessment and processes which will determine our future relationship with SOCO in light of our intensive engagement and the AGM. It would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this stage.

Daily Digest