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Niger Delta

    February 12, 2019

     Dutch court will today hear the first arguments in an historic case against Shell, in which the oil giant stands accused of instigating a raft of horrifying human rights violations committed by the Nigerian government against the Ogoni people in the 1990s. Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula are suing Shell over what they say is its role in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of their husbands by the Nigerian military, following a brutal crackdown on Ogoni protests against Shell’s devastating pollution of the region.

    “Over the years, Shell has continually fought to make sure the this case is not heard in court. They have the resources to fight me instead of doing justice for my husband,” said Esther Kiobel.

    June 29, 2018

    Esther says Amnesty activists have given her the strength to carry on fighting for justice

    A year ago today, Esther Kiobel stood on the steps of the Palace of Justice in The Hague. It had taken over twenty years to get there, but she had just filed a landmark case against the oil giant Shell over its role* in the 1995 execution of her husband Dr. Barinem Kiobel. Dr Kiobel, a former government official, was hanged by the Nigerian military government in connection with widespread protests against oil pollution in the Niger Delta.

    “We love him to death,” Esther says of her late husband more than two decades after she last saw him in prison. “His spirit is still crying, looking for justice.”

    In the 1990s, Ogoniland, the oil-rich region of the Niger Delta where the Kiobels are from, was of huge economic importance to both Shell and the Nigerian government. Both parties panicked when protests, under the leadership of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), broke out against environmental destruction caused bv Shell’s operations.

    April 16, 2018

    This is part 6 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    Amnesty International is urging the Governments of Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to launch investigations into the role of Shell Oil regarding the horrific crimes committed in Ogoniland by the Nigerian military during the 1990s.

    To recap: in 1995, nine men from Ogoniland were executed. The executions of the Ogoni Nine, after an unfair trial, were the culmination of a much broader crackdown on the Ogoni people by the Nigerian military government.

    Amnesty`s latest report examines he widespread human rights violations including unlawful killings, torture, rape and the destruction of homes and property, carried out by the military in the years leading up to the executions in 1995.

    April 10, 2018

    This is part 5 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    Confronting Shell Oil … Again!

    Three years after the ground-breaking report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on oil pollution in Ogoniland, the people of Ogoniland continued to suffer the effects of fifty years of an oil industry that has polluted their land, air and water. The oil company Shell and the Nigerian Government both failed to implement recommendations made in the UNEP report and put an end to the abuse of the communities’ rights to food, water and a life free of pollution.

    The 2011 UNEP Report made 27 recommendations, including the establishment of a $1 billion fund for the clean-up and compensation. In August 2014, Amnesty issued a report titled “No Progress”, with Amnesty's assessment that NONE of the recommendations had been completed. The Government of Nigeria and Shell had taken almost no meaningful action to implement any of the recommendations.

    April 04, 2018

    This is part 4 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    United Nations Confirms Massive Pollution

    In 2011-2012, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) confirmed the massive scale of pollution in its landmark report based on a scientific assessment of one region, Ogoniland. The report particularly highlighted how pollution has created a public health emergency in the Niger Delta as a result of high levels of contamination of people’s sources of water.

    According to UNEP, oil seeped below the surface layers of soil and contaminated the groundwater in Ogoniland. The report also referred to increased concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons in the air and drinking water, which could lead to long-term health issues.

    March 29, 2018

    This is part 3 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    Throughout the years, Amnesty International has continued to put pressure on Shell Oil for the company's role in the Niger Delta. Amnesty's 2009 report "Petroleum, Pollution and Poverty in the Niger Delta" focused on some of the root causes of the complex conflict situation in the Niger Delta, including:

    the impact of half a century of pollution and environmental damage on the people of the delta; the lack of effective accountability and redress for harm to the environment and human rights; and a lack of transparency and information in relation to the impacts of the oil industry.

    These factors are key drivers of conflict and poverty in the Niger Delta.

    Listen to our Niger Delta "True Tragedy" podcast

    March 27, 2018
    Photo of vigil for Ken Saro Wiwa (2005)

    This is part 2 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    In 2005, ten years after executions that horrified the world, the exploitation of oil in the Niger Delta continued to result in deprivation, injustice and violence. Despite a return to civilian government in 1999, those responsible for human rights violations under military governments were not brought to justice. Security forces were still allowed to kill people and raze communities with impunity. The environmental harm to health and livelihoods that impelled the Ogoni campaign for economic and social rights remained the reality for many inhabitants of the Delta region.

    March 14, 2018

    This is part 1 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    On November 10, 1995, Amnesty International released this statement: “AI has learned with dismay that Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight other Ogoni supporters were executed on 10 November 1995.”

    The world was shocked. The trial was widely criticized by human rights organizations and the governments of other states The Commonwealth of Nations, which had pleaded for clemency, suspended Nigeria's membership. The United States, the United Kingdom, and the EU all implemented sanctions—but not on petroleum.

    What was the role of Shell oil in this? And how has the situation evolved since then? This six-part blog series explores the human rights impact of oil pollution in the Niger Delta, the mounting evidence against Shell, the courageous activism of affected communities,  and the on-going fight for justice.

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