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Sierra Club Release: Ken Saro-Wiwa Execution Anniversary

   November 10, 1997      Stephen Mills, (202) 675-6691
   Group Presents Petitions for Clinton and Shell CEO
   Washington, D.C. -- Sierra Club, Amnesty International, TransAfrica and a 
   host of labor, church, and pro-democracy organizations today announced a 
   campaign to pressure the D.C. City Council to rename a city street in memory 
   of an environmental activist the Nigerian military hanged two years ago. The 
   street chosen is adjacent to the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
   "We're sure that this campaign will get the Nigerian public relations flacks 
   out in full force," said Sierra Club Board of Directors member Michael 
   Dorsey. "If they are outraged so be it.  We want the ambassador to see Ken's 
   name every morning as he walks through the embassy doors to represent his 
   fraudulent government."
   "Two weeks ago we all heard about China's intolerable human rights record, 
   well China has met it's match in Nigeria," said Stephen Mills, Director of 
   the Sierra Club's Human Rights and the Environment Campaign.  "And 
   unfortunately the multinational corporations involved there appear to have 
   influenced the Clinton administration's Nigeria policy just as they affected 
   China's --  by forestalling any real sanctions, notably an oil embargo,  
   which would help return Nigeria to democratic rule."
   "The petitions we present today for President Clinton containing 3,313 
   signatures are to remind him that American values are not for sale" said 
   Mills.  "We are the ones who voted to elect him, not the CEO's of the 
   multinational corporations who bankroll political campaigns."
   The petitions demand that Clinton immediately institute sanctions targeting 
   Nigeria's oil economy including a ban on new investment.  The U.S. consumes 
   nearly half of the oil Nigeria exports.  Shell is the largest exporter of 
   Nigerian oil.
   On Nov. 10, 1995,  Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni  minority-rights 
   advocates were hanged by the Nigerian military following a trial which lacked 
   any independence or impartiality. The Ogoni had been protesting Shell's 
   environmental devastation of their land and water.  Key witnesses for the 
   prosecution subsequently recanted their testimony and have signed sworn 
   statements indicating that they were bribed by the Nigerian military and 
   Shell to testify against Saro-Wiwa. Another 20 Ogoni,  arrested with 
   Saro-Wiwa two years ago, languish in jail under gruesome conditions.  The 
   Ogoni region of Nigeria is now a closed military zone where Saro-Wiwa's 
   supporters are routinely jailed and tortured.
   Petitions were also presented to Shell today containing the signatures of 
   4,183 individuals pledging to boycott the company.  Though it has been two 
   years since the Ogoni were executed for protesting against Shell's pollution, 
   the company has so far refused to clean up the area or compensate affected 
   communities.  The 
   petitions cite Shells tolerance of human rights violations and claim that 
   Saro-Wiwa's execution was a direct result of their actions.
   "Shell's environmental policy in Africa reeks of discrimination," said 
   Dorsey.  "The company thinks that it can adhere to one operating standard in 
   this country and another, lower standard in Africa.  Shell has absurdly 
   claimed in letters to our members that it doesn't get involved in politics 
   and would `not influence the political development of Nigeria'. The fact is 
   that by doing business in Nigeria, and thereby supporting the brutal Abacha 
   dictatorship, the company is involved in Nigerian politics whether it likes 
   it or not," Dorsey continued.
   "One report released this year found Shell's hydrocarbon pollution levels in 
   Nigeria nearly 700 times higher than what is allowed in Europe," Dorsey said.
   Though denying it at first, Shell has now admitted to both paying the 
   military and importing weapons into Nigeria.
   While the Clinton administration has failed to impose any effective sanctions 
   against Nigeria, it has not stopped cities across the U.S. from adopting 
   local ordinances canceling Shell contracts and barring business with 
   companies that do business with Nigeria.  Cities that have passed such 
   ordinances include Amherst and Cambridge, MA; Berkeley and Oakland, CA; New 
   Orleans, LA; New York, NY; and St. Louis, MO.  The U.S. Council of Mayors, 
   the Harvard Undergraduate Council and Alameda County in California have also 
   passed resolutions condemning Nigeria.  In June, Rep. Donald Payne (D-NY10) 
   introduced the "Nigeria Democracy Act" (HR 1786), a bill to impose sanctions 
   against Nigeria.
   The Sierra Club, long known for its battles to preserve and protect U.S. 
   wilderness areas, has increasingly found itself participating in an entirely 
   new arena -- the struggle for human rights, particularly for the right of 
   individuals to protect the environment. The Club's Human Rights and the 
   Environment Campaign seeks to ensure individuals' rights to speak out on 
   behalf of the environment, and to help environmental advocates organize in an 
   effective manner to petition their government.
   "In many countries the Sierra Club finds that environmentally concerned 
   citizens are not only increasingly threatened by their own governments," said 
   Mills, "some multinational corporations have pressured nations in desperate 
   need of foreign investment to compete for their business by reducing 
   environmental and labor standards."
   "In order for the environment worldwide to be protected, citizens must be 
   involved," said Mills. "American foreign policy has ignored this fact for far 
   too long.  For our families and for our future, global environmental problems 
   must be freely discussed in order to be solved.
   Following the 1995 execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Sierra Club Board of 
   Directors voted to boycott Shell Oil until the company cleans up it pollution 
   in Ogoniland.  The Sierra Club is also actively supporting the Payne bill to 
   impose sanctions against Nigeria.
   Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club is the largest grassroots environmental 
   organization in the United States.  The Club currently has approximately 
   600,000 members and campaigns on a variety of domestic and international