Today, a Supreme Court case starts to decide whether corporations can literally get away with murder. As well as being a vital case for the Ogoni people in Nigeria who have borne the brunt of Shell’s terrible attacks on the lives and human rights, this is also a key case in the battle about whether corporations can be held legally accountable for gross human rights abuses in foreign countries, or whether they enjoy legal immunity when operating internationally.
When the Ogoni people of Nigeria began to nonviolently protest Shell’s oil development, Shell cooperated with the Nigerian military regime to violently suppress opposition through extrajudicial killing, torture, and crimes against humanity. More than 60 villages were raided, over 800 people were killed, and 30,000 more were displaced from their homes.
Now this precedent-setting Supreme Court case could finally bring justice for the Ogoni people of Nigeria, but corporations like Dole Foods have filed briefs to the Supreme Court in support of Shell to protect their own interests and make sure they can’t be held accountable for human rights abuses abroad either.
Dole has a lot at stake with this court case. If Shell wins, Dole will no longer be able to be held responsible for the countless atrocities it committed across Latin America and Asia, including forcing workers to use a chemical that was known to cause cancer and sterilization, and hiring paramilitary groups to murder farmers, and intimidate and murder trade union leaders.
While you’re (hopefully) in petition-signing mode, how about signing this petition to the Director of the Southbank Centre in London, asking him to not accept Shell sponsorship for Southbank programmes? Southbank is currently running a programme of classical music with Shell sponsorship, helping to give Shell a “social licence” to operate, despite its destructiveness to people, environment and climate.