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HUMAN RIGHTS ARE UNDER ATTACK IN THE NIGER DELTA. AND SHELL WANTS TO WASH ITS HANDS OF ALL RESPONSIBILITY

FROM A SHELL INSIDER (KNOWN TO US)

Dear John

I am sending you the enclosed just in case you haven’t seen it.

For Amnesty to campaign against Shell in this way is, in my opinion, highly significant.

Amnesty is highly respected and immensely careful in what they place in the public domain. They would not do this unless they were 100% sure of their facts.

Amnesty’s story is deeply shocking and it demands the widest possible publicity. And it demands an answer and action from Shell.

Over to you!

vhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0QTxz5rTxU

Letter From Amnesty International

October 2009

HUMAN RIGHTS ARE UNDER ATTACK IN THE NIGER DELTA. AND SHELL WANTS TO WASH ITS HANDS OF ALL RESPONSIBILITY

A catastrophe is unfolding in the Niger Delta. A catastrophe that is causing human suffering on an enormous scale; that is depriving thousands of people of food and livelihoods; that is making children and pregnant women sick; that is devastating whole communities and poisoning the land they have lived on for generations.

Behind this catastrophe lies a series of fundamental human rights abuses. And behind the abuses, lies a multi-million pound company based right here in the UK.

Shell is poisoning the land, the water and the people of the Niger Delta.

Royal Dutch Shell, commonly known simply as Shell, has been the major oil producer in the Niger Delta for the last fifty years. In that time, the company has made literally billions of dollars from the oil it’s produced. In the process, it has polluted rivers and estuaries with ‘wastewater’. It has persisted in the illegal practice of ‘gas flaring’. And it has contributed to nine million barrels of crude oil pouring out of pipelines and into the land and water of this most delicate eco-system.

That’s the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez disaster on the same site, every year, for fifty years. But unlike that oil tanker spill, most of the leaks in the Niger Delta have not been cleaned up. In this respect, as in so many others, Shell has failed to meet its moral and legal obligations.

Shell is trampling on the human rights of whole communities.

The Niger Delta is home to around 31 million people, many of whom have seen their lives and livelihoods destroyed by Shell’s approach to oil production. Water pollution has killed the fish they rely on for food and income. Land pollution has made it impossible to grow crops. And today 75% of the area’s rural population have no access to clean water.

Numerous international human rights covenants and treaties state that all human beings have the right to an adequate standard of living – to food, water, health and work. The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights specifically recognises the right of all peoples to a ‘satisfactory environment favourable to their development’.

Shell works in partnership with the Nigerian Government, and so should be expected to uphold Nigeria’s human rights laws. But even if it won’t respect the law, surely the company should follow its own stated
business principles. These specifically say:

“, we continually look for ways to reduce the environmental impact of our operations, products and services”, Shell companies aim to be good neighbours by continuously improving the ways in which we contribute, directly or indirectly, to the general wellbeing of the communities in which we work,”

In reality, however, Shell is being anything but a “good neighbour”. It is precisely the fact that communities are not being listened to or having their concerns acted on – either by Shell or their partner the Nigerian Government – that lies at the heart of this human catastrophe. The people most affected – the people whose homes, health and livelihoods are being destroyed – are being excluded from any dialogue. They are not consulted, they are not given even the most basic information about the work being done on their land, and they are denied any power or influence to put right what has gone wrong.

Amnesty International is standing alongside these communities in calling on Shell to clean up its act. And we need you to stand with us too.

Shell defends its failure to meet its legal obligations in the Niger Delta by saying the situation is ‘complex’. In recent years it has often blamed oil leaks on sabotage. But there is no independent verification for this, and several court cases in Nigeria have found against Shell when it has blamed leaks on sabotage.

Amnesty fully acknowledges that the situation is complex. But that’s no justification for law breaking and human rights abuse. Shell must stop hiding behind excuses, and start facing up to its responsibilities.

We’ve been documenting Shell’s operations in the Niger Delta for over ten years now, in consultation with the communities affected. Our recent report Petroleum, Pollution and Poverty in the Niger Delta details exactly why Shell’s excuses do not stack up, and how woefully inadequate its response has been. The report has placed considerable pressure on the oil giant and on its new CEO, Peter Voser.

Amnesty was in touch with Mr Voser on his first day in office, challenging him to live up to Shell’s own business principles and to respect human rights in Nigeria. Now, as he prepares for his first AGM in charge next May, we aim to keep the pressure on him and his company by running a co-ordinated series of lobbying activities. And we really need your support.

There are two things we need you to do: Firstly please make a donation to our campaign today. Your money could help fund our lobbying of Shell here in the UK and also in Holland, or it could support our vital work monitoring and gathering evidence of the ongoing human rights abuses alongside local communities in the Niger Delta.

But as well as your money, we need your voice
. Please make your mark on the attached action card to let Peter Voser know how you feel about Shell’s conduct. As a UK based company, Shell cares what UK consumers think. We need to leave the company’s management in no doubt that we are outraged by their conduct in the Niger Delta and that we will not tolerate them putting profit before people. Please help us tell them to clean up their act.

Mr Voser has now been CEO for nearly 100 days and we want to deliver as many signed cards as we can to Shell’s London headquarters. So please return yours to us together with your donation by 23rd October – and we’ll make sure he gets the message.

Human rights have come second to oil rights for far too long in the Niger Delta. It’s time Shell stopped making excuses and started making amends, It’s time to come clean.

Thank you for all your support.

Yours sincerely
Naomi McAuliffe
Campaigns Manager, Poverty and Human Rights

Make Shell clean up its act

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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