The battle for democracy and corporate accountability in Nigeria continues, as the native Ogoni people fight against the brutal military government and Shell Oil, which has devastated the environment in Ogoniland and imported arms for the regime (see “End Environmental and Human Rights Abuses in Nigeria” for more background). The World Council of Churches (WCC) recently endorsed a boycott of Shell, estimating that over 3,000 Ogoni have died and over 30,000 have been displaced in the last four years of conflict, and noting that between 1982 and 1992, Shell’s Nigerian operations spilled 1,626,000 gallons of oil in 27 separate incidents.
Now this social and environmental devastation seems poised to be repeated in the Peruvian Amazon, where Shell Oil is planning a 40-year, $2.7 billion natural gas drilling project. If the project begins as scheduled in July 1997, it will place one of the largest gas operations in South America in a rainforest area that Peru’s government has set aside as a homeland for uncontacted indigenous peoples.
On May 14, Project Underground held an International Day of Action Against Shell, timed to coincide with Royal Dutch/Shell’s annual shareholders’ meeting in the U.K. Picketers at Shell gas stations from Washington, D.C. to Vancouver, Canada showed solidarity with protestors in London, who called on shareholders to divest their shares in Shell.
At the meeting, Shell rejected a shareholders’ resolution — which won 41 million of the total 357 million shares (11.5%) — demanding that an outside auditor examine Shell’s record to see if the company has honored its stated commitment to environmental protection and human rights.
You can still protest Shell’s abuses — and their rejection of the resolution — by boycotting Shell, and writing a letter to the company telling them why. Address your letter to:
Mr. Phillip J. Carroll, CEO
Shell Oil Corporation
P.O. Box 2463
Houston, TX 77252
Phone: (800) 241-4044
Fax: (713) 241-4044
To find out more about Shell’s operations in both Nigeria and Peru, call Project Underground at (510) 705-8981 or e-mail them at email@example.com to order their 1996-1997 “Independent Annual Report” on Royal Dutch/Shell. You can also request boycott postcards to send to Shell, or an entire “Shell Boycott Pack” with a timeline of the Ogoni struggle against Shell and other information on the issue.
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