Ken Saro-Wiwa Remembered In International Day Of Action

November 10, 2006

Community groups all over the world will be participating in an international day of action against Shell today November 10.

The groups are taking part in actions to commemorate the lives and deaths of the Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro Wiwa and eight others who were executed 11 years ago today.

Protests and actions are taking place in Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Barbados and Ireland – while in London the Remember Saro Wiwa coalition will be launching a memorial to the Nigerian writer and activist [1]. He and the eight others were sentenced to death for speaking out against the impact of Shell and other oil companies in the oil-rich Niger Delta in Nigeria.

A number of communities around the world have long-standing concerns about Shell's operations and the impacts of the oil giant’s activities. They are coming together as part of this international day of action to highlight that there is an ongoing problem with Shell's global operations – and that these are not isolated cases. In Russia Shell is accused by the government of committing environmental crimes while the High Court in Nigeria has ruled that gas flaring by Shell is against the Nigeria Constitution.

Communities want to send out a clear message that Shell is failing to operate the standards of corporate governance it claims. And they are calling for solidarity with the community in Rossport, County Mayo, Ireland, currently fighting to stop Shell building a high-pressure pipeline across their land.

Friends of the Earth International Corporates Campaigner Paul de Clerck said:

“Eleven years on from the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa, Shell is still failing to recognise the rights and needs of the communities where it operates. Communities are living alongside terrible pollution, while Shell banks record profits. It is time the oil giant was forced to clean up its operations and improve its standards of corporate governance. Companies in the modern world should not be allowed to operate in this way.”

Protests and actions will be happening in: • Nigeria, where Shell's impacts over 50 years have included numerous oils spills and fires and where Shell's continuous gas flaring pollutes the air – activists will be holding a candle-lit march, including speeches and singing, and will visit Port Harcourt Prisons where Ken Saro-Wiwa and colleagues were held in solitary confinement before being hanged.

• South Africa, Cape Town: a mass picket will be held outside Shell House

• South Africa, South Durban: community groups, supported by people from around the world, plan to block off the Shell and BP refinery which operates using ageing and dangerous infrastructure and releases many pollutants, including carcinogens and other chemicals causing damage to human health and the surrounding environment.

• Philippines, Manila where communities are concerned about the impact of having an oil depot located in the middle of a residential area – people are holding a day of events including a memorial meeting and press conference, floral offerings on the Pasig River, a candle-lit protest at the main thoroughfare of Shell, and a chain of children at Shell's oil depot gate.

• Barbados: farmers are seeking compensation from Shell for contamination of their lands with aviation fuel from a leaking seven-mile-long pipeline and will be holding a demonstration against Shell.

• Ireland, County Mayo, where the local community is objecting to the development of a high pressure pipeline – people are organising a peaceful mass protest at the site of the refinery in Ballanaboy, with solidarity protests also taking place at filling stations and depots in Cork and solidarity actions elsewhere (see http://www.corribsos.com/ )

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Friends of the Earth International, Paul de Clerck, +32-494380959 (Belgian mobile)

Friends of the Earth in London UK, Hannah Griffiths +44-7855 841994 (UK mobile)

NOTES TO EDITORS

[1] www.remembersarowiwa.com/events.htm