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SHELL KNEW MOSOP HAD A LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCE SAYS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Extract from pages 6 & 7 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

Under Executive Summary.

SHELL AND THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT: “SHELL KNEW MOSOP HAD A LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCE”

SHELL KNEW MOSOP HAD A LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCE

While framing the Ogoni protests as a largely economic problem, Shell downplayed the community’s concerns about the environment and other issues.

In public statements Shell denied that its operations had caused environmental problems. This was completely false. Internal documents reveal that senior staff were highly concerned about the poor state of Shell’s ageing, inadequately maintained and leaky pipelines. In November 1994, the head of environmental studies for Shell Nigeria, Bopp Van Dessel, resigned over the issue, saying that he felt unable to defend the company’s environmental record “without losing his personal integrity.” Van Dessel went public with these allegations in a TV interview in 1996 stating:

“(Shell managers) were not meeting their own standards; they were not meeting international standards. Any Shell site that I saw was polluted. Any terminal that I saw was polluted. It was clear to me that Shell was devastating the area.”

While Van Dessel’s comments relate to all of the Shell operations in the Niger Delta, other credible sources provide evidence of the specific situation in Ogoniland. After taking up the case of Ogoniland in 1996, the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights found that pollution and environmental degradation in Ogoniland were at a level that was, “humanly unacceptable and has made living in the Ogoniland a nightmare”.

A 2011 scientific study of the environment in Ogoniland conducted by the United Nations Environment Programme confirmed that the land, air and water of Ogoniland were badly polluted and made clear that the oil pollution dated back decades.

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