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Internasjonale miljøprotester foran Shells årsmøte

I dag legger Friends of the Earth fram rapporten "Launch of Failing the challenge: The Other Shell Report 2002". Her forteller naboer av Shell over hele verden hvordan det er å leve side om side med den britisk-nederlandske oljegiganten. -For åtte år siden gratulerte vi Shell for forpliktelsene selskapet lovte å påta seg for bærekraftig utvikling. Til tross for fine ord fortsetter Shell å profitere på bekostning av både mennesker og miljø, sier Friends of the Earth-direktør Tony Juniper.


Launch of Failing the challenge: The Other Shell Report 2002 Wednesday 23rd April, 9.15am, Weatherhead Room, Central Hall Westminster, London

Shell's neighbours [1] from around the world will report back on the realities of living nextdoor to the Anglo-Dutch oil giant before taking their concerns to the company's AGM. (For details: 020 7566 1649)

Photo Opportunity
At 10.40am, the community representatives will be available for a photocall, outside the QE2 conference centre. They will be holding large posters of the alternative report front cover and will show
which countries they have come from.

Oil giant Shell is still putting short-term profit before people and the environment, despite its public commitment to a "green" future [2], according to a shocking new report launched today to coincide
with the company's London AGM [3].

Failing the Challenge: The Other Shell Report mimics Shell's own social and environmental reports but has been jointly published by Friends of the Earth and a coalition of community groups [4]. It
contains first hand testimonies from communities living next door to Shell in the US, the Philippines, South Africa, Nigeria, Argentina and China and catalogues the environmental damage, the health problems and the impacts of accident these communities face.

But the report also shows how inadequate current UK company law is in protecting local people and the environment from UK companies who profit at the expense of people's health and the natural world.

Eight years ago, Shell committed itself to sustainable development and the company promoted its green image to the world. But as people living next door to Shell will tell directors at the company's AGM,
the reality is a far cry from the green promises in glossy brochures and advertising campaigns - Shell is failing the sustainability challenge.

Friends of the Earth has enabled Hope Esquillo Tura to travel to Shell's AGM to represent the United Front to Oust Oil Depots in the Philippines. She is campaigning for the closure of Shell's oil and
gas depots in the Manilan suburb of Pandacan, where 330 million litres of crude oil, diesel and aviation fuel are stored opposite a high school in the heart of the community. Leaks and fires at the depots
have resulted in hundreds of residents being hospitalised over the years, and two years ago, Manila City Council ordered the depots to close. But following negotiations with the council, the depots are
still open, leaving the community at risk.

Ms. Esquillo Tura said:
"Shell officials claim to be law-abiding, yet they continue to operate in complete defiance of a law which states that they cease and desist their operations. We cannot compromise the rights of the majority of
the people of Manila to live peacefully and secured just because of socio-civic projects given to the communities by Shell. No amount of money can compensate for the lives that will be lost and the
irreparable damage to succeeding generations should an accident or attack happen here."

Hilton Kelly, a community leader from Port Arthur, Texas, will also be at the AGM, facilitated by the Refinery Reform Campaign. He lives near Shell's Port Arthur Refinery, which is surrounded by homes,
schools and churches in an area known as "gasoline alley" to locals. Shell reported 56 major accidents, process upsets and fires or explosions at the refinery in 2002 and just last week, an incident
resulted in five tons of sulphur dioxide being released into the atmosphere, with gas flaring and black smoke across the town over eight hours. Local people suffer exceptionally high rates of heart
disease and respiratory problems.

Mr Kelly said:
"Shell's top management from London needs to come to Port Arthur and help correct the problems that create a health burden on their neighbours. Because of the pervasive pattern of racism here in the
South, we cannot get the local managers of Shell to take the action needed."

Durban, South Africa, is home to South Africa's largest refinery, the South African Petroleum Refinery, jointly owned by Shell and BP. The complex is in south Durban, in an area that is home to low income
black, Indian and mixed-race communities, and where health problems including cancer and respiratory diseases are common. Much of the complex is old, and leaks and spills frequently occur.

Desmond D'Sa, Chairperson of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, said:
"In South Durban multi-nationals like Shell are above the law. Only citizens who break the speed limits are prosecuted. Multi-Nationals like Shell who pollute and violate citizens constitutional right to a
healthy environment have never been prosecuted. We in South Durban call on Shell management not to abuse their power to subvert the law above the ordinary citizens equal rights that are enshrined in the South African Constitution."

Friends of the Earth Director Tony Juniper said:
"Eight years ago we congratulated Shell on its commitment towards sustainable development. Despite the fine words in mountains of glossy brochures, however, it is clear that the company continues to
profit at the expense of people and the environment. Shell must start putting substance before message and spin, and address the concerns of local people in all of the countries where it works, not just here
today in the glare of publicity, but everyday, everywhere.

"Shell is just one example of how UK plc operates around the world, putting profit before principle with devastating effects for local people and the environment. Patricia Hewitt must change UK company
law and make British companies fully accountable for the damage they cause."


[1] Community representatives attending the Shell AGM and press conference include Hope Esquillo-Tura, United Front to Oust Oil Depots, from the Philippines; Oronto Douglas, Friends of the Earth
Nigeria, Desmond D'Sa, chair person of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, Durban, South Africa; Hilton Kelley, Director of the Community In-power and Development Association, Port Arthur, Texas; Margie Richard, Concerned Citizens of Norco, Louisiana, USA; Judith Robinson, Environmental Health Fund, USA; Denny Larson, Refinery Reform Campaign, USA. Contact details are available from Friends of the Earth.

[2] The company committed itself to "sustainable development" in 1995.

[3] Shell's AGM in London will take place at the QE2 Centre, Westminster at 11am,Wednesday 23rd April and also in The Hague, Netherlands where Friends of the Earth Netherlands will be holding a
simultaneous protest.

[4] Failing the challenge: The Other Shell Report 2002 was written and researched by Lisa Rimmer for Friends of the Earth with the Refinery Reform Campaign (USA), groundWork South Africa, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, South African Exchange Program on Environmental Justice, Fundacion Ala Plastica (Argentina), Global Community Monitor (USA) and FreeTibet Campaign.
Embargoed copies of the report are available from the press office at Friends of the Earth and will be available on-line from 9.30am on Wednesday 23rd April see:

Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth EWNI 020 7566 1667 07747 123565 (Mob)
Tony Juniper, Friends of the Earth EWNI, 020 7490 0336 07712 843207 (Mob)
Denny Larson, Refinery Reform Campaign 07932 589237 (mob)
Oronto Douglas, Friends of the Earth Nigeria 07736 979647 (mob)