Campaigners demand Shell end illegal gas flaring that Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa died trying to stop

LONDON—Days after a judge confirmed Shell Oil will stand trial in New York on May 27th on charges it was complicit in the murders of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Nigerian activists, environmental and human rights groups announced that they have formed a global campaign to hold Shell accountable and demand that it stop gas flaring in Nigeria.


The campaign is being coordinated by Friends of the Earth, Oil Change International and PLATFORM/Remember Saro-Wiwa. In addition to the website www.ShellGuilty.com, the campaign will include grassroots advocacy, TV and online advertising, and calls for Shell to come clean about its corporate irresponsibility, human rights abuses and record of environmental devastation. The campaigners are demanding that Shell stop gas flaring.

“Ken Saro-Wiwa’s hanging revealed the true price of oil,” said Steve Kretzmann of Oil Change International. “Global movements for corporate accountability and environmental and social justice were inspired in part by the sacrifice of the Ogoni and the vision of Saro-Wiwa. Now, as Shell finally goes on trial for its crimes, we continue the struggle that Saro-Wiwa died for. For the climate and the communities of Nigeria, Shell must end gas flaring.”

“Gas flaring in Nigeria, where Shell is by far the largest oil company, poisons Niger Delta communities and is a significant, wasteful, source of global warming pollution,” said Elizabeth Bast of Friends of the Earth. “It’s time for Shell to end to its human rights abuses and climate crimes, including its gas flaring in Nigeria.”

We remember Saro-Wiwa by keeping alive his nonviolent struggle,” said Ben Amunwa of PLATFORM/Remember Saro-Wiwa. “People around the world who care about these issues can demand justice from Shell—for all the victims of the oil industry—by joining our campaign at www.ShellGuilty.com.”

CONTACT:

U.K.: Ben Amunwa, Platform/Remember Saro-Wiwa, +44-207-357-0055, +44-7891-454-714, [email protected]

Netherlands: Anne van Schaik, Friends of the Earth,

+31-20-5507387,+31-6-21829589, [email protected]

U.S.: Nick Berning, Friends of the Earth, +1-202-222-0748, [email protected]

U.S.: Steve Kretzmann Oil Change International, +1-202-497-1033, [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 26th. On April 23rd, 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 open-air fires that burn natural gas that is released when oil is extracted from the ground. A World Bank study concluded that flaring in the Rivers and Delta states in Nigeria releases 35 million tons of carbon dioxide and 12 million tons of methane each year—equivalent to the annual global warming pollution of 56 coal plants or 47 million cars. Gas flares are toxic and harmful to human health, which is why they are strictly regulated in countries such as the United States or the 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 (www.foe.org) is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 70 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has been at the forefront of high-profile efforts to create a more healthy, just world.

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.

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