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Hollywood actor stars in new film calling on Shell to clean up the Niger Delta

Sophie Okonedo, the Academy Award nominated actor, has taken a leading role in a new short film created by Amnesty International which calls on Shell to take responsibility for its actions in the Niger Delta – an area of Nigeria which is roughly the size of Scotland.

The dramatic two-minute film called Livelihoods throws a spotlight on the devastating impact of oil pollution across the Niger Delta as it artistically depicts various individuals’ work being ruined by oil. The film is released today.

Royal Dutch Shell is one of a number of oil companies operating in the Niger Delta, where there has been a massive 2,000 major oil spills, ruining the lives of the millions of people who live in the region. And this week (Thursday 26 April) Shell is expected to announce first quarter results that will run into billions of pounds.

The new film marks the start of an international week of action taken by thousands of Amnesty supporters in countries around the world, including the UK.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“What we’re seeing unfolding across the Niger Delta is nothing short of a human rights catastrophe, and this has inspired Sophie Okonedo and several others to join Amnesty’s campaign calling on Shell to clean up and pay up.

“The Niger Delta was once a beautiful wetland teeming with fish. And it supported a population of nearly 40 million people. But decades of pollution and neglect have devastated the environment.

“Over the last 50 years, an estimated 9 - 13 million barrels of oil have been spilt in the Niger Delta – that’s the equivalent of one Exxon Valdez disaster spill every year.

“It’s left a devastating legacy that has destroyed the livelihoods of nearly everyone living there. The fish they catch, the water they drink and the air they breathe are all severely contaminated by oil pollution.

“Shell cannot be allowed to get away with it. It is their leaks that have caused the problem, and it is time they cleaned up their mess and adequately compensated the people of the Niger Delta.”

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