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Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights’

Shell’s ‘crimes against humanity’


I have been reading with some interest your main-stream media posts and the accompanying discussions in your blog regarding Shell’s complicity with the Nigerian government (or the Nigerian governments complicity with Shell) in the obvious political repression that occurred in the Ogoni tribal region. There was political repression, torture of dissidents, murder, rape, etc., all intended to intimidate and cow the Ogoni into ‘acceptance’ of the ‘pillaging’ of the natural resources found on and under Ogoni tribal lands. Furthermore, the resulting environmental damage has severely inhibited the traditional methods by which the Ogoni provided for themselves through fishing and farming, etc. read more

U.S. Supreme Court to hear bid to sue Shell for Nigerian abuses

17 October 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says it will use a dispute between Nigerian villagers and oil giant Royal Dutch Shell to decide whether corporations may be held liable in U.S. courts for alleged human rights abuses overseas.

The justices said Monday they will review a federal appeals court ruling in favor of Shell. The case centers on the 222-year-old Alien Tort Statute that has been increasingly used in recent years to sue corporations for alleged abuses abroad.

The villagers argue Shell was complicit in torture and other crimes against humanity in the country’s oil-rich Ogoni region in the Niger Delta.

A divided panel of federal appeals court judges in New York said the 18th century law may not be used against corporations. More recently, appellate judges in Washington said it could.


Shell’s horrendous track record in Nigeria includes embedding spies in the Nigerian government; paying rival militant gangs; engaging in corruption (not only in Nigeria); arming police spies; using a private spy firm (Hakluyt) partly owned and controlled by Shell directors, to infiltrate Nigerian activists (friends of Ken Saro-Wiwa) and linking Shell with murder and human rights abuses which are the subject of the above case. Questions inevitably arise about financial linkage to Shell of the militants responsible for the repeated attacks against Shell pipelines and infrastructure over many years, which has driven up the cost of oil. Shell has such a shameful record in Nigeria, including plunder and pollution on an epic scale, that it has even considered ditching the Shell global brand name. Such a radical move would also distance the company from its Nazi past. read more

Shell’s shameful track record in Brazil

From pages 17, 18 & 19 of “Royal Dutch Shell and its sustainability troubles” – Background report to the Erratum of Shell’s Annual Report 2010

The report is made on behalf of Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands)
Author: Albert ten Kate: May 2011.

A Shell pesticide factory

For a decade or more, beginning in 1977, Shell produced organochlorine pesticides (aldrin, dieldrin, endrin etc.) and other pesticides at a plant located near Pauli?nia, about 125 kilometres north-west of Sa?o Paulo, Brazil. The plant covered approximately 40 hectares.78 Due to its severe health impacts, by 1990 the use of aldrin and dieldrin was totally banned in the USA and Brazil.

After negotiations starting in 1993, in 1995 Shell sold the Pauli?nia facility to the companies American Cyanimid and BASF. A sales condition was that Shell would assume legal responsibility for the pollution at the site. In 2000, BASF took full ownership of the facility.79 In 2002, BASF shut it down the facility after a ban by the Brazilian Ministry of Labour, in view of existing contamination and serious risks to human health. read more

Twitter storm pounds Shell’s Syria operations

Twitter users have joined forces to protest against Dutch oil giant Shell’s business operations in Syria. Friday saw the announcement of an EU-wide-ban on Syrian oil imports. Activists used the hash tag #shellfuelsmurder to stop all of the company’s operations in the country. Shell is the second-biggest foreign oil firm in Syria after French Total SA, which claims to have stopped all exports prior to the official sanctions. Shell has said it will comply with the EU embargo but will not unilaterally stop its activities in the country. The campaign comes on another Friday of widespread Syrian protests. Thousands of protesters have been killed by security forces since the start of the demonstrations in March. read more

U.K. Shell Deal Spotlights Value of Common Law Model for Human Rights Litigation

Michael D. Goldhaber:  The American Lawyer August 31, 2011

Royal Dutch Shell has been sued so many times over its conduct in Nigeria that its cases offer a laboratory experiment for human rights litigation. After thirteen years of arduous U.S. alien tort litigation, Wiwa v. Shell resulted in a piddling $15.5 million settlement in 2009. Kiobel v. Shell has done even worse. Nearly a decade after the case was filed, it has succeeded only in abolishing the corporate alien tort within the Second Circuit, and if the U.S. Supreme Court accepts cert, it may do the same nationwide.

Now comes the “Bodo” case, which emerged from obscurity three weeks ago. On Aug. 3, four months after farmers and fishermen from the village of Bodo filed a common law complaint in London high court, Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary admitted liability for a pair of oil spills in return for the parent company’s dismissal from the suit. The Financial Times trumpeted the potential for a payout of over $400 million, although the Shell Petroleum Development Company called this number “massively in excess of the true position.” read more


Nigeria’s then acting President Goodluck Jonathan with President Obama in 2010



President Goodluck Jonathan constituted a special committee on oil pollution in Ogoniland recently, according to him; to perform a “holistic review of the UNEP report.” The committee is chaired by Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, Minister of Petroleum Resources and former Shell Oil Company employee. The committee also has Mr. Austen Oniwon, Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) as a member. Technically, this committee is a consortium of oil conglomerate. NNPC and Shell Oil Company are partners in the operation of oil business in Nigeria. A child of circumstance, the ad hoc committee was born as an aftermath of the recent shocking revelation in the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) report that almost all the Ogoni environment is contaminated by oil pollutants. read more

EU prepares to embargo Syrian oil in line with US

The new measures if approved are unlikely, however, to prevent European oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell or Total from continuing to produce crude in Syria through joint ventures.

By Justyna Pawlak: 25 August 2011

European Union governments are likely to embargo imports of Syrian oil next week to ratchet up pressure on president Bashar al-Assad, although new sanctions may be less stringent than those imposed by Washington, EU diplomats said.

A round of discussions was held in Brussels on Tuesday and EU capitals raised no objections to banning Syrian crude imports, in a move similar to a decision by the US earlier this month

The new measures if approved are unlikely, however, to prevent European oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell or Total from continuing to produce crude in Syria through joint ventures. read more

Royal Dutch Shell profiting from Sultan’s absolute rule in Oman

By Mika

Unrest has reached Oman, the usually “sedate” and “tranquil” Sultanate on the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. Inspired by uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Bahrain, Omani youth took to the streets to challenge government corruption, cronyism, unemployment and a lack of democracy. Protests spread across the desert country, with police firing bullets and teargas from helicopters, killing at least six demonstrators. Sultan Qaboos exercises absolute power over his kingdom, as he has for forty years since he deposed his father. read more

Royal Dutch Shell Moral Monsters?

Second Circuit Denies Rehearing En Banc in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.

Posted on February 11, 2011 by editor

In our posting last September when the decision was announced (here), we discussed the Second Circuit’s decision in Kiobel, et al. v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., et al., 06-4800-cv, 06-4876-cv (2d Cir. 17 Sept. 2010), which held that the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, does not subject a corporation (as opposed to natural persons) to liability.  Now, in two separate filings (here and here) leading to an 5-5 split, the Second Circuit denied the request for the full Court to reahear the case en banc.   (For a general discussion of the role of comity in international disputes, see our Topic discussion in our e-book, International Practice:  Topics and Trends.) read more

Shell, human rights and corporate accountability

The implications of the settlement of damage claims against Shell, based on the allegation that it was complicit in the executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other "Ogoni 9" in 1995, as well as numerous other human rights violations, has been underestimated...

Shell’s “humanitarian” gesture in settling out of court is entirely self-serving – Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International UK

All of this could have been avoided had the oil companies been held properly accountable for decades of adverse impacts on human rights.

Was Shell’s $15.5 Million Alien Tort Settlement A Win ‘For the Principles of Human Rights Law’?


By Alison Frankel

June 10, 2009

In a lengthy analysis at The Am Law Daily of Monday’s $15.5 million settlement between Royal Dutch Shell and Nigerian plaintiffs who accused the oil giant of complicity in the torture and death of activists protesting Shell’s drilling in the Ogoni region of the Niger delta, American Lawyer senior international correspondent Michael Goldhaber points out that the biggest winner in the case may be the cause of international human rights.

“A settlement is a victory,” Michael Hausfeld, an architect of the Holocaust settlements who was not involved in the Shell case, told Goldhaber. “Every settlement advances the principles of human rights law.” read more


Below is an article supplied to Shell in advance of publication. The relevant email correspondence with Richard Wiseman, the Shell official who is the subject of the article is printed immediately below it. It contains his comments and our response.

By Alfred and John Donovan

This is the first in a series of articles in which we provide overwhelming evidence why Richard Wiseman (above) is an unfit person to be the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

From Shell’s standpoint, we are sure Wiseman did a good job as General Counsel and later as Legal Director of Shell UK. We understand from our sources that he is generally liked and respected by colleagues. He is loyal to the company and Shell executive directors. We acknowledge that Mr Wiseman has many admirable qualities. read more

Oil Industry Braces for Trial on Rights Abuses

The New York Times

Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times

Ken Wiwa, son of the Nigerian writer and advocate Ken Saro-Wiwa.

By JAD MOUAWAD Published: May 21, 2009

Fourteen years after the execution of the Nigerian author and advocate Ken Saro-Wiwa by Nigeria’s former military regime, Royal Dutch Shell will appear before a federal court in New York to answer charges of crimes against humanity in connection with his death.

The trial, scheduled to begin on May 27, will examine allegations that Shell sought the aid of the former Nigerian regime in silencing Mr. Saro-Wiwa, a vociferous critic, in addition to paying soldiers who carried out human rights abuses in the oil-rich but impoverished Niger Delta where it operated. read more

Congressional Commission Hears Testimony on Shell’s Environmental Abuses in the Niger Delta

Hearing Comes Four Weeks Before Landmark Human Rights Case, Wiwa v. Shell, Goes to Trial in Federal Court in New York

Remembering Goldman Environmental Prize Winner Ken Saro-Wiwa

Fourteen years ago, Ken Saro-Wiwa received the Goldman Prize for his leadership of a powerful non-violent movement against oil giant Royal Dutch Shell in the Ogoni region of Nigeria. He was hanged seven months later after a sham trial condemned around the world.

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