Job title: Oil & Human Rights Campaigner
Hours: 28 hours (3.5 days) per week, flexible by arrangement; Mondays obligatory
Salary: £28,000 pa, pro rata adjusted according to need, in line with Platform’s Social Justice Waging System. See Terms & Conditions, below.
Responsible to: Project Development and Management Group (PDMG)
Location: London: Platform’s office at Tower Bridge
To apply, please send us:
- Your CV
- A Cover Letter explaining why you want this job, and why you would like to join Platform
- A 1-page Supporting Statement telling us how you meet the Person Specification
- A completed Equal Opportunities form
Email [email protected] by 6.00pm on Friday 14th September 2012. Please use the subject heading: ‘Oil & Human Rights Campaigner’.
Sadly, due to limited capacity we are unable to reply to applicants who have not been invited for interview.
Platform brings together human rights campaigners, educators, environmentalists, artists and community activists. This vital mix enables us to create innovative projects driven by the need for social and ecological justice. Our methods are interdisciplinary, combining the power of art with the tangible goals of campaigning, the rigour of in-depth research with the vision to promote an alternative future. For more detail, please see the ‘background’ section below.
The Carbon Web
Platform’s Carbon Web project seeks to undermine the links between UK oil companies and the institutions that surround and support them; including banks, investors, government departments and cultural institutions. The Niger Delta region is one of the most emblematic sites of environmental injustice, with devastating impacts and little benefit to local communities, and the Oil and Human Rights Campaigner is a crucial part of highlighting the role of UK oil companies involved in this injustice.
The Oil & Human Rights in the Niger Delta Campaign
A fundamental injustice underlies the many conflicts in the creeks and swamps of the Niger Delta, a resource-rich region of Nigeria. For over 50 years, billions of dollars of oil revenues have been extracted from the Delta, yet residents live in abject poverty.
On 10th November 1995, Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others were executed by the Nigerian military government for their campaign against the environmental and social impacts of Shell on the minority Ogoni region of the Niger Delta.
Oil spills remain a daily occurrence, ravaging farmland and killing fish that village communities depend on for their survival. Toxic gas-flaring occurs with impunity. Companies active in the region, including Shell, Exxon Mobil, Eni/Agip and Chevron contribute to this legacy of human rights violations, environmental devastation and social conflict.
By generating media, revealing corporate collusion with military abuses and using targeted interventions to create pressure, Platform aims to help people in the Delta who suffered corporate human rights abuses to achieve justice. In 2009, Platform supported the relatives of the executed “Ogoni 9” in their landmark Wiwa v Shell lawsuit. In 2010 and 2011 we researched and exposed seven cases of human rights violations linked to oil company operations in the Nigeria, including the destruction and displacement of the town of Rumuekpe by militias funded in part by oil companies.
Our previous work:
Since the execution of Saro-Wiwa and eight others in 1995, Platform has focused on the environmental and social impacts of the oil industry. We have worked on Nigeria for over a decade. Together with a global coalition of partner NGOs, activists, social movements, journalists and lawyers from Nigeria, the Netherlands, the UK, US and elsewhere, we have successfully produced:
- remember saro-wiwa (2004 – 2010): A landmark project to create a Living Memorial to Ken Saro-Wiwa in London. This combined art, activism, music and events to raise public awareness and call for corporate accountability.
- The Next Gulf (2005): A book on London, Washington and oil conflict in Nigeria. An in depth exploration of how western companies and governments have cooperated with local elites in West African to maintain control over the natural resources of the Gulf of Guinea.
- Counting the Cost (2011): A major report on corporate complicity in recent human rights abuses in the Niger Delta. Exposed how Shell had fuelled conflict by paying tens of thousands of dollars in cash and contracts to armed militant groups and relied heavily on government security forces notorious for abuse. Led to an official investigation in Nigeria and made global headlines.
- Recent briefings on oil conflict (2012): Authoritative analysis of the role of external actors in exacerbating the Niger Delta conflict between 2003 and 2011. Sources included leaked company data, documents obtained under Freedom of Information and US embassy cables.
The successful candidate will be involved in:
- Exposing corporate and government abuses.
- Researching cases of gross violations and supporting legal mechanisms for redress.
- Holding corporate abusers to account through campaigns and advocacy.
- Working closely with social movements and rights defenders in the Niger Delta
- Organising a UK speaker-tour
- Gaining media coverage to shine a spotlight on the issues; develop and communicate new narratives; harness the power of social media to spread public outrage; conduct interviews for diverse mainstream media platforms.
- Planning for the 20 year anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni Nine. November 2015 will be the 20 year anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists for campaigning against the impacts of Shell and the Nigerian government in the Niger Delta. The successful candidate will develop plans for a substantial cultural project to mark the occasion and highlight ongoing injustice
Main functions and responsibilities of the role:
The successful candidate will be an energetic campaigner eager to challenge the environmental and human rights abuses of oil companies in the Niger Delta. You should be able to plan and conduct public campaigns, including generating media, organising events and strategic interventions. The role will involve building on an existing body of work monitoring and documenting the impacts of oil companies in the region and communicating this research to key audiences. The role will also involve investigative activities such as making Freedom of Information Act requests and follow up using information law to challenge government activity and oil industry lobbying.
The Campaigner will be responsible for managing their project budget and for continued fundraising, including reporting to funders and meeting project outcomes. All Platform projects are responsible for their own continued fundraising. Engagement with other Platform projects, and fulfillment of Platform’s internal reporting procedures is also expected. After the probation period, you will be invited to actively participate in organisational management.
Essential (Skills, qualities and experience):
- Sustained experience of campaigning – whether in activist, NGO, or other context
- A creative and innovative approach to developing campaigns
- Strong communicator (written, verbal, social media) and ability to frame debates and to develop powerful key messages that influence change
- Capacity to work with affected communities in highlighting and resisting environmental and human rights abuses by oil companies
- Ability to engage with and influence decision-makers
- Ability to identify strategic points of intervention in campaigning
- Experience of generating media coverage and mobilising public pressure
- Time-management skills and flexibility to respond to opportunities and challenges
- Strong commitment to working on human rights and environmental justice
- Excellent team player able to co-ordinate with the activities of six other campaigners
- Computer literate – PC or Mac. Familiarity with Office applications.
- Willingness to carry out field work in sensitive regions like the Niger Delta
Desirable (Skills, qualities and experience):
- Experience of working on environmental justice issues and ‘fenceline’ communities
- Familiarity with the political situation in Nigeria
- Ability to use the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and other investigative methods
- Experience of achievement in political and/or human rights campaigning
- Capacity to fundraise
- Experience of combining art and activism
- Experience in communicating and cooperating across different cultures
What other people say about us:
“I thank you for all the effort, time and resources you put into the report that has finally captured the attention of the House of [Representatives] in Nigeria… It is left for us to build a strong advocacy campaign around this whole thing until communities like Rumuekpe are adequately compensated for all the atrocities committed against them by the oil companies operating on their land.” Ogoni solidarity activist commenting on the Counting the Cost report
“International groups such as Amnesty, Friends of the Earth International and Platform… have done extraordinary work to bring the human rights and environment scandal of the Delta to world attention.” The Guardian, 10 August 2011.
“You did something awesome with Shake! You didn’t call the shots. You handed over power. We were able to explore the arts and the issues and you were the hands that gently guided. You all shared your skills, ideas and experiences, and became a pool from which we could draw inspiration and motivation.” Samia, youth participant in Shake! pilot, feedbac
“Your research was very influential in our decision to sell 100% of our fossil fuel exposure last year; this significant decision amounted to well over $100 m of redemptions, capital being pulled out of that sector. All gone!” Managing Director of a large investment fund.
“Platform is about intelligent activism that draws people in.” Officer from a major UK funder
Further background on Platform:
Platform is a leading charity working for social and environmental justice. Our methods are interdisciplinary, combining the power of art with the tangible goals of campaigning, the rigour of in-depth research with the vision to promote an alternative future.
The arts are a central part of Platform’s work. This allows us to be consistently innovative and creative in our campaigns. Platform’s cultural approach and profile enables the work to reach a wide and diverse audience. Our unique blend of arts, environment, activism and education is also central to our diversified fundraising strategy.
Our work delivers results. Working with Iraqi colleagues, we succeeded in stopping an oil law that would have given companies like BP and Shell long-term control over Iraq’s oil, in spite of intense pressure from US and UK occupation forces. Our finance campaign has forced the Royal Bank of Scotland to stop denying climate change, and to recognise its responsibility for its lending decisions. Our critique of the oil companies’ development of Canada’s tar sands, the world’s dirtiest fuel, has led to pension funds with billions of pounds of investments going to BP and Shell demanding answers. Our front-page exposé of BP’s ‘environmental time bomb’ pipeline in Turkey led to construction being delayed for a year whilst inadequate engineering was fixed. We have led the way on combining campaigning, arts, and anti-racism with young people through the “Shake!” project. We are internationally recognised for our analysis, ideas, methods and impacts.
Climate change: Dangerous levels of climate change should be prevented, through transforming the energy economy, slowing fossil fuel extraction and shifting financial, cultural and institutional norms. The costs of energy transition should fall most heavily on those who benefit from current energy use.
Resource justice: the costs and benefits of natural resource extraction should be fairly distributed and control over those resources democratised. Governments and other actors should be prevented from participating in resource wars.
Human rights of affected communities: The human rights of those affected by oil extraction or by climate change should be respected and protected.
Responsibility: Those responsible for driving climate change and human rights violations associated with oil extraction should be held to account – including companies, the British government and individuals working within them.
Building movements: There should be strong and active social movements in the global North and South, working in coalition and solidarity, against the politics of self-interest.
Changing our culture: British thought, policy, and culture should be focused on a future based on environmental sustainability and social justice. Racism, prejudice and exclusion must be challenged and stopped.
Platform promotes shared leadership and collaboration and our structure reflects this. We value everybody’s work equally and support each other to make ambitious projects possible.
As a charity, ultimate responsibility for and control of the organisation lie with the Board of Trustees. However, what would more “traditionally” be the role of Executive Director role is carried out by a rotating Project Development and Management Group (PDMG). Staff are invited to join the PDMG at least nine months after starting a role in Platform, subject to approval of PDMG members.
PDMG members have specific responsibilities for running different aspects of the organisation, and report to the the wider organisation and the Trustees. Current PDMG roles include Finance, Human Resources, Strategy and Programming. The Shake! Coordinator will be line-managed by a member of the PDMG initially; although it is anticipated that the Coordinator may become a member of the PDMG if they choose to.
Platform strives to apply equal opportunities principles both in its recruitment and in its work. We oppose all forms of unlawful or lawful discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, gender, sexuality, marital status, religion, age or disability. Read our socially just recruitment & employment policy.
The successful candidate will be selected purely on the basis of how well they fit the person specification, as judged by their application materials and their interview performance. Unfortunately Platform is unable to arrange work permits for applicants.
Terms & Conditions
Salary: The salary will be determined by Platform’s ground-breaking Social Justice Waging System, based on a core rate £28,000 per annum, pro rata (under review). Under this radical scheme, not only are all staff subject to the same salary levels (regardless of position in the organisation), the levels are adjusted according to need. For example, those with substantial inherited savings are paid less than those without, and there are extra salary increases available to those with children or dependents. We believe this system constitutes a major step forward in providing equal opportunities.
For each years’ employment, staff are rewarded with an increase in salary of 1% per year worked.
The details of the System are reviewed annually, with all staff encouraged to participate in the review.
Details of the System (including principles, rationale and mechanisms) are available on request, from [email protected].
Hours of work: 28 hours (3.5 days) per week.
Contract: Permanent (subject to 6 months’ probationary period).
Holiday: 30 days per calendar year plus bank holidays (pro-rata)
Pension: Platform will match your contributions either to its group pension scheme, or to your own ethically invested personal pension scheme, up to a maximum of 7.5% of salary. (Note that Platform’s absolute minimum definition of “ethical” is that the fund does not invest in the companies that Platform campaigns against, such as corporations in the oil and gas or arms/defence sectors.)
Place of work: Platform office, near Tower Bridge, London. Some working from home may be possible, by negotiation.
Notice of termination: One month from either side.
Access: Platform’s office is on the ground floor. Platform will make every reasonable adjustment to the office or to working arrangements so as to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities.