Online activists bring Shell to trial

Royal Dutch Shell is the second largest private sector energy corporation in the world. Shell started business in Nigeria in 1937 as Shell D’Arcy, and petroleum production in the West African nation accounts for 40 percent of revenue today for the company. However, the native Ogoni people of the Niger Delta have complained for many years that not only have they not reaped the benefits of the oil riches in the area, but also environmental injustices caused by Shell's practices have devastated the region. The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, led briefly by famed environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa in the 1990s, has campaigned rigorously against Shell, but next month, the oil giant will stand trial in a United States federal court to answer to charges of human rights abuses. Online activists are using this opportunity to shed light on this matter.

Human rights group Shell=Guilty recently launched a Facebook group to educate the public about ongoing human and environmental abuses in the Niger Delta, and to seek support for a soon-to-be-announced campaign initiative.

The group is asking Shell to:

* Stop gas flaring in Nigeria, a practice devastating to the environment and human health, and a significant contributor to global warming.

* Disclose its role in the abuses committed against the Ogoni people in Nigeria, including the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni 9.

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