Crude accusations

If on the evening of 6 May you've cast your vote (or not) and are in need of respite from election fever, and you’re near Shoreditch then head along to Amnesty’s Human Rights Action Centre for a free screening of Crude.

The film depicts a 17-year-long legal battle between Ecuadoreans and the oil giant Chevron.  The 30,000 Ecuadoreans have accused Chevron of polluting the Amazon region by dumping oil waste and causing untold damage and disease – not only to the people in the region, but the land, rivers, wells and livestock.
Rory Carroll in today’s Guardian reports how the filmmakers find themselves caught up in a court case of their own, as the oil giant is demanding the filmmakers hand over unseen footage.

Chevron’s not the only oil company in the spotlight on human rights abuses. Amnesty has long campaigned for an end to the oil pollution caused by Shell and other oil companies in the Niger Delta – and our campaign is not over yet.

As I’m writing about oil pollution, it would be remiss of me not to mention the major oil spill that’s now reaching the Louisiana coast line after a blast on an oil rig on the Gulf of Mexico. 11 people died in the blast and 17 people were seriously injured and the impact of the oil spill is set to be devastating for wildlife in the area.

A state of emergency has now been declared across the region, and President Obama announced that BP will be footing the bill for the cost of clean up. The situation across the American coastline is devastating and the consequences of this oil spill do indeed sound disastrous.

But it’s hard not to see the great disparity between the reaction of the world’s media (and the oil companies in question) to the one-off crisis affecting the people of Florida and Louisiana with the crisis which affects thousands of people in the Niger Delta every day.

The disparity is incredibly stark. And absolutely tragic.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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