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Monday, June 8, 2009

Shell to pay $15.5 million to settle Nigeria claims


"Oil company Royal Dutch Shell will pay $15.5 million to settle a lawsuit against its Nigerian subsidiary by the family of executed Nigerian environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa (pictured at the left) and other dissidents, the plaintiffs announced Monday.

The lawsuit accuses Shell of complicity in the 1995 hanging of Saro-Wiwa and the killings or persecution of other environmental activists by the military government that ruled the country at the time. Roughly half of the settlement will go into a trust fund to help the people of Nigeria's Ogoni region, according to court papers.
"In reaching this settlement, we were very much aware that we are not the only Ogonis who have suffered in our struggle with Shell, which is why we insisted on creating the Kiisi Trust," Saro-Wiwa's son, Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr., said in a statement accompanying the settlement.
Nigeria's Ogoni people have complained for years that Shell was allowed to pollute its land without consequences. Saro-Wiwa's death sparked a worldwide outcry, and his movement ultimately forced Shell out of the oil- and gas-rich Ogoniland region.
There was no immediate response from Shell to Monday's settlement.
The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights went to court on behalf of Saro-Wiwa's family and others in 1996. Shell fought the lawsuit until last week, when a federal appellate court ruled that the plaintiffs could sue the company's Nigerian subsidiary in American courts, overturning a March decision in the company's favor.
"This was one of the first cases to charge a multinational corporation with human-rights violations, and this settlement confirms that multinational corporations can no longer act with the impunity they once enjoyed," plaintiff's lawyer Jennie Green said in a statement released with the settlement."


"Kenule "Ken" Beeson Saro-Wiwa (October 10.1941– November 10,1995) was a Nigerian author, television producer, environmental activist, and winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize. Saro-Wiwa was a member of the Ogoni people, an ethnic Nigerian minority whose hometown, Ogoniland , in the Niger Delta has been targeted for crude oil extraction since the 1950s and which has suffered extreme and unremediated environmental damage from decades of indiscriminate oil waste dumping. Initially as spokesperson, and then as President, of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Saro-Wiwa led a "nonviolent" campaign against environmental degradation of the land and natural waters of Ogoniland by the operations of multinational oil companies, especially Shell.. He was also an outspoken critic of the Nigerian government, which he viewed as reluctant to enforce proper environmental regulations on the foreign oil companies operating in the area.
At the peak of his non-violent campaign, Saro-Wiwa was arrested, hastily tried by a special military tribunal, and hanged in 1995 by the Nigerian military government of General Sani Abacha , all on charges widely viewed as entirely politically motivated and completely unfounded. His execution provoked international outrage and resulted in Nigeria's suspension from the Commonwealth of Nations. Ken Saro-Wiwa's son claims victory after Shell's decision."
source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Saro-Wiwa

It looks like this decision means that multi-national corporations and the employees of these companies better start to adhere to laws concerning their actions towards the peoples of this world and the environment, or face the consequences! Sadly, this money will not bring back Ken Saro-Wiwa. A scientific investigation showed that up to 33 months after oil spills in the area of the Niger Delta, soil and water could not be used for agriculture or fishing. What are the issues relating to Shell being in Nigeria? See this website for details: http://www.essentialaction.org/shell/issues.html
sources:cnn,link

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.