Following Platform’s publication of leaked internal data on Shell’s security spending in Nigeria and beyond, several Dutch MPs have submitted official questions to the Netherlands government, probing Shell’s record on human rights abuses. If only UK MPs would emulate their Dutch colleagues, we may actually see a measure of corporate accountability.
Below is a rough Google translation of the MPs questions and here’s the the original in Dutch.
So far, Shell’s response has been typically relaxed. “It’s not the first time this happens to Shell,” a spokesperson told RNW. Nor will it be the last time until Shell breaks its ties with human rights abusers in the Delta.
Questions from the members Timmermans and Dikkers (both Labour) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the State Secretaries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation on the financing of Nigerian security forces by Shell (submitted 23 August 2012)
1. Are you familiar with the media article “Shell pays Nigerian security forces”, which states that Shell paid tens of millions of euros to the Nigerian police and army despite reports that Nigerian security forces are regularly involved in human rights violations?
2. Will you ask Shell to account for the allegation that the company regularly finances security forces involved in alleged human rights violations? If so, when and how? If not, why not?
3. Do you agree that it is irresponsible and unacceptable that Shell repeatedly finances security forces in Nigeria who are likely to be involved in human rights violations? If not, why not?
4. Have you called on the Nigerian Government, in your role as an active participant and current chairman of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, “to adhere to these principles and to ensure that the Nigerian security forces funded by Shell protect human rights? If yes, how and what are the results? If not, why not?
5. Do you agree that the financing by Shell of Nigerian security forces conflicts with the Voluntary Principles on security and human rights in the oil, gas and mining industries, which both you and Shell have endorsed, since those security forces are regularly involved in human rights violations? If so, what implications does this have for your participation in and chairmanship of the “Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights”? If not, why not?
6. Has Shell in Nigeria adhered to the ‘Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights’ in an independent and transparent manner? If so, what are the results? If not, why not?
2) For examples of alleged human rights abuses by Nigerian security forces see eg the reports of Amnesty International about the occurrence of these security forces in the Niger Delta. www.amnesty.org