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WCC Presses Oil Companies to Examine Env. Impact in Nigeria

   [This is from September, but I just found it.  Good stuff!! SM]
   World Council of Churches Office of Communication
   Press Release
   150, route de Ferney PO Box 2100 1211 Geneva 2 Switzerland
   E-mail: jwn@wcc-coe.org 
    The World Council of Churches (WCC) called today, Wednesday (Sep. 17), for 
   international oil companies working in Nigeria to examine the impact of their 
   work on the environment and social conditions, and to use their influence 
   with the military government of General Sani Abacha to promote full respect 
   for human rights and democratic freedom.
    The WCC says that if the companies' initiatives are ignored, they should 
   withhold cooperation from the government until it restores the rule of law, 
   protects human rights and allows the restoration of democratic civilian rule.
    The WCC called on the Nigerian government to respect the results of the 1993 
   presidential elections and asked its member churches to urge their countries 
   to withhold economic and military cooperation from Nigeria until full
   democratic rule is restored. The declarations on Nigeria, and others on Iraq, 
   Sudan and Sierra Leone, were made by the WCC's Central Committee, its 
   156-strong governing body.
     The Committee, meeting in Geneva, expressed dismay over accusations that 
   Nigeria's consortium of international oil companies has caused environmental 
   devastation and has cooperated with the military and police to repress
   civilians. It welcomed the WCC's continuing dialogue with Shell 
   International, the leading member of the consortium, and called on Shell to 
   widen the dialogue to include direct discussions with the churches of 
   Nigeria, "free from government or other restraints".
     The Central Committee urged Shell to negotiate with freely-chosen 
   representatives of the oil-rich area of Ogoni over its corporate 
   responsibilities, including reparations for "environmental destruction for 
   which it is responsible".
     The Committee asked for an ecumenical team to visit Iraq to see how UN 
   sanctions are affecting the civilian population. The team's report, and a 
   study of the situation by the WCC's international affairs staff, will be put 
   before the Executive Committee early next year for action. The Committee is 
   worried that sanctions are liable to cause suffering among powerless citizens 
   and that much of the "oil for food" revenue is going on defraying Gulf War 
   costs and maintaining UN observers in Iraq.
     On the civil war in Sudan, the Committee supported peace moves by the 
   country's churches and called for an immediate cease-fire among the factions 
   in the south and by the government. It agreed with the churches that the 
   Khartoum Peace Agreement in April between the government and the South Sudan 
   Independence Movement would be effective only if it were broadened to include 
   the leaders of other opposition movements, and expressed concern
   that the leader of the SSIM had accepted a ministerial post, jeopardising the 
   chances of that happening.
     Another ecumenical team is to be sent to the churches of Sierra Leone at 
   the Committee's request, to support their peace-making efforts. The Committee 
   expressed profound regret that the positive efforts since last year's 
   democratic election to end the years of fratricidal fighting have been 
   reversed by the military coup of May this year.
     (Note to Editors: further background to these statements was given in 
   Central Committee Press Release No 4.)
     Contact: John Newbury, WCC Press & Information Officer, (+41.22) 791.61.52 
   (Office); 369.37.26 (Home)
     The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 330, in more 
   than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. 
   The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with 
   the WCC. The highest governing body is the Assembly, which meets 
   approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in 
   Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad 
   Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.