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Amnesty cleans up a Shell gas-station, against the oil pollution in Nigeria

Hot Topics Pantin, France - 30 June 2009
Militants of Amnesty International, covered with a combination and a mask, cleaned a Shell service station in the north Paris on June 30, 2009.

Amnesty is willing to denounce pollution due to the exploitation of oil in the Niger delta and the violations of the human rights of the population.

In the report released today, “Petroleum, pollution and Poverty in the Niger Delta”, Amnesty calls the situation in the Niger Delta a “human right tragedy”, saying that the people of the Niger Delta have seen their human rights abused by oil companies that their government cannot or will not hold to account.

The majority of the evidence on pollution and environment damage gathered by Amnesty International relates to the operations of Shell, the main oil company operating on land in the Niger Delta.

Amnesty calls on Mr Peter Voser, the new CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, starting on 1 July 2009, “to make cleaning up Shell’s operation in the Niger Delta a top priority” and take significant measures during his first 100 days in office.

“People living in the Niger Delta have to drink, cook with and wash in polluted water. They eat fish contaminated with oil and other toxins – if they are lucky enough to still find fish. The land they farm on is being destroyed. After oil spills the air they breathe smells of oil, gas and other pollutants. People complains of breathing problems and skin lesions – and yet neither the government
Nature is destroyed and the natural resources decrease gradually: the grounds are not cultivable anymore and the rivers are contaminated.

The Niger delta constitutes a key area of Nigeria because of its huge resources of oil and gas.

But it is especially a major stake for large international firms like Shell, Total or Chevron.

“We welcome the more pro-active approach the National Oil Spill Detection and Response agency (NOSDRA) appears to want to take – but it needs more resources”, said Audrey Gaughran from Amnesty.
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