Ads demand Shell finally end gas flaring that Ken Saro-Wiwa died trying to stop; they will begin running in New York City this week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
13th May 2009

New York City— The ShellGuilty campaign announced today it will begin running TV ads in New York City this week to hold Shell accountable for its continued toxic gas flaring in Nigeria — one of the abuses that Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other nonviolent Nigerian activists died trying to stop.

Shell will be put on trial in federal court in New York beginning May 26, in a case in which it is charged with complicity in the executions of Saro-Wiwa and the other activists, as well as other human rights abuses.

The ads that will begin airing this week demand an end to gas flaring, which harms Nigerians and exacerbates the climate crisis. The ads can be viewed at http://www.shellguilty.com/psa/. The campaign’s network has sent over 9,000 letters to Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer demanding an end to Shell’s practice of gas flaring in Nigeria.

For more information about the ShellGuilty campaign visit www.ShellGuilty.com. The April 27 news release announcing the formation of the ShellGuilty campaign can be found here.

CONTACT:
U.S.: Elizabeth Bast, Friends of the Earth U.S., +1-202-641-7203, [email protected]
U.S.: Steve Kretzmann, Oil Change International, +1-202-497-1033, [email protected]
U.K.: Ben Amunwa, PLATFORM/Remember Saro-Wiwa, +44-207-357-0055, +44-7891-454-714, [email protected]

Notes:

* Ken Saro-Wiwa was a writer and leading activist demanding rights for Nigeria’s Ogoni people, including an end to Shell’s gas flaring in Ogoni regions. As a result of his activism, Saro-Wiwa was detained, imprisoned and tortured throughout the early 1990s. On November 10, 1995, Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists were executed by the Nigerian government for their campaigning. Substantial evidence indicates Shell collaborated with the Nigerian government in a campaign of brutal crackdowns that culminated in the execution of Saro-Wiwa and his colleagues. Shell will be forced to face this evidence in U.S. federal district court in New York City in a trial that begins May 26. On April 23, Judge Kimba Wood rejected Shell’s last-ditch attempt to avoid trial, rejecting the company’s claim that the court did not have jurisdiction to consider the case.

* Gas flares are toxic fires that burn the natural gas that is released when oil is extracted from the ground. Industry sources and World Bank research estimates vary, but most indicate that gas flaring in the Niger Delta sends 53 to 60 million tons of carbon dioxide (a global warming pollutant) into the atmosphere each year. This is equivalent to the annual emissions of nine to ten million cars in the U.S. Gas flares are toxic and harmful to human health, which is why they are strictly regulated in countries such as the U.S. or U.K. But because such flaring is cheap when environmental and human costs are not taken into consideration, Shell and other oil companies have burned gas flares continuously for decades in countries like Nigeria.

For more information about the campaign, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and gas flaring, visit www.ShellGuilty.com

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Friends of the Earth U.S. (www.foe.org) fights for a healthy and just world and is the U.S. voice of Friends of the Earth International. Friends of the Earth International (www.foei.org) is the world’s largest grassroots environmental federation with member groups in 77 countries and more than 2 million individual members and supporters.

PLATFORM is a U.K.-based arts and campaign group focusing on the impact of the oil and gas industry on the rights of local communities. PLATFORM’s Remember Saro-Wiwa project aims to create a permanent Living Memorial to Ken Saro-Wiwa in London and to raise awareness about the ongoing environmental and social devastation of the Niger Delta by oil companies such as Shell.

Oil Change International (www.priceofoil.org) campaigns to expose the true costs of oil and facilitate the coming transition towards clean energy. We are dedicated to identifying and overcoming political barriers to that transition.