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13 Years Is Too Long for Victims of Shell’s Oil Spills to Wait for Justice

13 Years Is Too Long for Victims of Shell’s Oil Spills to Wait for Justice

This case has beaten a path through the undergrowth for victims of corporate crimes. Now we need strong laws to make this avenue easier to access.

Donald Pols (R), director of Dutch environmental organization Milieudefensie, and Channa Samkalden (L), lawyer for Milieudefensie, react following the court ruling in the case that the organization, along with four Nigerian farmers, filed against Shell over oil leaks that have allegedly polluted their villages, in The Hague, on January 29, 2021. The Nigerian branch of Shell has to pay compensation to some farmers from the African country. The company has been found liable for two oil spills. The amount must

Donald Pols (R), director of Dutch environmental organization Milieudefensie, and Channa Samkalden (L), lawyer for Milieudefensie, react following the court ruling in the case that the organization, along with four Nigerian farmers, filed against Shell over oil leaks that have allegedly polluted their villages, in The Hague, on January 29, 2021. The Nigerian branch of Shell has to pay compensation to some farmers from the African country. The company has been found liable for two oil spills. The amount must be determined later, the court in The Hague ruled. (Photo: Remko de Waal / ANP / AFP via Getty Images)

Justice has finally prevailed for the people of the oil-soaked Niger Delta. On Friday 29th January, after a thirteen year struggle for redress for lives ruined by oil spills, three Nigerian farmers, supported by Milieudefensie/Friends of the Earth Netherlands, beat one of the world’s most powerful transnational corporations, Shell, in court in the Netherlands. Across Nigeria’s southern Delta region, people who have never heard of the Court of Appeal in the Hague celebrated with victory parties. But no victim should have to wait thirteen years for justice. Better laws are needed now to give victims quicker and more effective ways to win remedy.

The discovery of oil in the Niger Delta has brought untold suffering to its people. Shell was there from the start in the 1950s—and with it came oil spills and pollution…

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