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Shell Oil to be grilled by Amnesty on human rights record

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Posted: 04 March 2010


The Niger Delta is one of the world’s 10 most important wetland and coastal marine ecosystems and is home to about 31 million people. Its huge oil deposits have been extracted for years by the Nigerian govenment and multinational oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell. It is estimated that  oil has generated an estimated $600 billion since the 1960s.

However,  the majority of the Niger Delta population lives in extreme  poverty without clean water or adequate health care [1]. Widespread pollution in the Niger Delta through oil spills, waste dumping, and gas flaring – an illegal and harmful practice of burning natural gas that is released when oil is extracted from the ground – is damaging people’s health, destroying livelihoods and contributing to violent conflict [2].

This roundtable event held in Aberdeen, “the oil capital of Europe”, will be a unique opportunity to hear Shell answering some tough questions over their human rights record in Nigeria, as well as expert debate on the human rights responsibilities of multinational corporations. Speaking at the event will be:

– Barnaby Briggs, former Head of the Social Performance Management Unit at Shell International
– John O’Reilly, Amnesty International advisor and former Senior Vice President for External Affairs at BP
– Antonio Ioris (Chair), Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Aberdeen.

Each speaker will present their case, before addressing questions from the floor.

Amnesty International believes that both the Nigerian Government and multinational companies such as Royal Dutch Shell have a responsibility to ensure that oil extraction does not undermine the livelihoods and human rights of the country’s population. Nigeria does have laws and regulations that require companies to comply with internationally recognised standards of “good oil field practice”. Unfortunately, the regulatory system is deeply flawed, and these laws and regulations are poorly enforced. The government of Nigeria has given the oil companies the authority to deal with matters that have an impact on human rights, with little or no oversight and no effective safeguards. As a result, oil companies have exploited Nigeria’s weak regulatory system for decades, with drastic consequences for the human rights of the people of the Niger Delta [2].

Venue:    New King’s Building (1), University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3FX
Date:    Thursday 11 March 2010
Time:    7pm


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