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Shell: the battle lines are drawn

The Barbican. The big oil company. And us.

The battleground: pollution and corporate responsibility.

The collateral: a global brand, multi-millionaire shareholders and hard-nosed PR executives against hundreds of activists, an ad and an online video.

Bring it on.

In case it passed you by tomorrow is Shell’s AGM. The oil giant has been under Amnesty’s spotlight for a while – all because of their appalling human rights record in the Niger Delta.

In simple terms gas flaring, the burning of gas produced as part of oil extraction, coupled with numerous oil spills has left local communities with little option but to drink polluted water, eat contaminated fish, farm on spoiled land, and breathe in air that stinks of oil and gas.

And needless to say we at Amnesty are far from happy about it. Shell are basically denying people the right to clean water, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to health and a healthy environment, and the right to food. These rights are not just enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but they are also part of Shell’s own “Business Principles”.

Anyway, back to the battle. Amnesty activists have already been out and about at Shell petrol stations to protest and so far they’ve made the media in a few places.

In addition, over the last week we sent out an appeal to our social media networks asking for help to pay for an ad in the national press, as I mentioned on these pages last week and The Guardian reported on later. To say the response surpassed our expectations would be something of an understatement.

Instead of one ad – a preview of which you can see here – tomorrow morning we’ll be running an ad in the Financial Times, another in The Evening Standard and also driving a hoarding around the streets of London from 7am.
Then there’s the film, which focuses on gas flaring. Watch it at the top of this post.

It seems Amnesty members are well up for the battle against one of Britain’s blue-chip companies.

Let’s see how Shell reacts.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
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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