Published On: Thu, Jan 26th, 2017

Amnesty slams ruling on Shell spills in Niger Delta

AI accuses Shell of ignoring oil spill image DW

AI accuses Shell of ignoring oil spill image DW

LAGOS, (CAJ News) – A United Kingdom High Court ruling that Niger Delta communities devastated by oil spills cannot sue Shell could rob them of justice and allow multinationals to commit abuses overseas.
This is according Amnesty International, which is disappointed by the ruling delivered on Thursday.
The court ruled that Royal Dutch Shell cannot be held responsible for the actions of its Nigerian subsidiary Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd.
This is despite the company having profited from decades of abuses and environmental destruction in the Niger Delta.
“This ruling sets an especially dangerous precedent,” said Joe Westby, Campaigner on Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International.
He said if it stands, then the UK Courts have given free rein to multinational companies based in the UK to abuse human rights overseas.
“Poor communities and developing countries will pay the price. This is a deeply depressing reminder of the impunity enjoyed by powerful corporations, and a blow to other communities in the Niger Delta who are still awaiting justice.”
Two Nigerian communities brought separate legal actions against Royal Dutch Shell and its Nigerian subsidiary in 2016. The first claim was brought on behalf of 2 335 people from the Bille Kingdom, a fishing community whose environment has been devastated by oil spills over the past five years.
The second claim was on behalf of the Ogale Community in Ogoniland which consists of around 40 000 people.
Over several years there have been repeated oil spills from Shell’s pipelines in Ogoniland which have still not been cleaned up.
The communities are expected to appeal Thursday’s ruling.
“We hope and expect that the court of appeal will overturn this decision to show that the UK justice system will provide remedy to impoverished communities who suffer serious abuse caused by UK corporations,” said Westby.
CAJ News

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