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12 Jan 2015

Peter Frankental, in Institute for Human Rights & Business

In the wake of Shell's out of court settlement, Amnesty International official calls for more opportunities for communities to access judicial remedies

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"Settlement Involving Niger Delta Fishermen Leaves Shell More Exposed Than Ever"

Last week’s announcement of an outcome of the court case taken by the Bodo fishermen may have more effect in galvanising Shell into action. It will certainly increase scrutiny of the company...While Shell will do everything it can to close the book on the negligence and misinformation accompanying the Bodo spill, the pressure on the company to be transparent with the facts and to clean up its contamination across all of the Niger Delta will intensify as other affected communities, encouraged by the outcome of the Bodo case, may also consider legal action. This case has created a landmark in so far as it has undermined some of the key pillars of Shell’s attempts to defend itself from culpability for oil spills in the Delta...While the compensation awarded is important to the affected communities, the wider ramifications of the Bodo case are much more significant in moving us closer to the truth and helping to bring about greater accountability in future for Shell’s actions and those of other companies operating in similar contexts. This is why Amnesty International puts such a strong emphasis on access to judicial remedy for victims of corporate abuses. We want to see many more opportunities for affected communities, such as the Bodo fishermen, to have their day in court.