Oil companies in developing countries

Source: CCR/Earth Rights International
Judith Chomsky, cooperating attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and of the attorneys who initiated the lawsuit, stated, "The fortitude shown by our clients in the 13-year struggle to hold Shell accountable has helped establish a principle that goes beyond Shell and Nigeria-that corporations, no matter how powerful, will be held to universal human rights standards." June 2009. [see more]
A large body of evidence suggests that rich oil resources obstruct democracy and equitable economic growth in developing countries because of a lack of transparency, and therefore accountability, in oil revenues paid by oil companies to governments.

The human rights implications of the activities of transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises in conflict zones, “failed states” and repressive regimes have drawn increased public attention, concern and scrutiny in recent years.

The increase in oil exploration in Africa by multinational oil companies has raised the profile of the debate, questioning the oil industry's contribution to development in the South.

In some countries of Latin America there is a long history of opposition to oil exploitation, because of its serious environmental and social impacts and human rights violations.

World Bank fossil fuel finance

Academic studies, personal testimonies, and governmental data were submitted to the EIR (The Extractive Industries Review), that establish a clear correlation between a country’s reliance on oil exports and its levels of poverty, child mortality, child malnutrition, civil war, corruption, and totalitarianism.

Bank staff was unable to provide a single example during the EIR of an oil project that had alleviated poverty. Outside of the Middle East there are no examples of successful oil-based economic devel-opment, and even those countries exhibit many of the other characteristics of oil export dependency (e.g. autocracy, human rights violations). From "The winners an losers of World Bank fossil fuel finance", data analysis by Jim Vallette & Steve Kretzmann, April 2004 See pdf.

However, in a Board meeting at August 3, 2004, World Bank Management and its Board failed to respond with concrete commitments to change the way the Bank operates and ensure poverty reduction results from its investments.

"The World Bank has ignored the EIR recommendations and endorsed business as usual", said Jon Sohn of Friends of the Earth US. "The EIR called for an 'extreme energy makeover,' and the World Bank opted for a cheap pedicure. It has missed a historic opportunity to bring its lending more in line with its mission to alleviate poverty."

The World Bank refers to the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline as a model for poverty alleviation, although it is quickly becoming a model for misery. The Chadian government spent a portion of the first proceeds on military expenditures, worker's rights have been violated, people lost their livelihoods as a result of pollution, and impact mitigation plans lack proper implementation.

“Oil projects like the Chad-Cameroon pipeline generate more tears than smiles. The Bank's response to the EIR means they have not learned a single lesson from such tragedies”, added Mr Nguiffo. From Friends of the Earth. See.
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Tuesday, June 09 2009
Settlement reached in human rights Wiwa vs. Shell case
(Source: CCR/Earth Rights International)
Friday, June 20 2008
The people of Nigeria versus Shell
(Source: Friends of the Earth International)
Monday, April 21 2008
Whose oil? Sudan's oil industry: facts and analysis
(Source: ECOS Network)


The price of oil (Human Rights Watch)

What's behind the crisis in Liberia? (Counter Punch)

Bottom of the barrel: Africa's oil boom and the poor (Catholic Relief)

Fuelling poverty: oil, war and corruption (Christian Aid)

Deconstructing engagement: corporate self-regulation in conflict zones; implications for human rights (Faculty of Law, University of Toronto)

Shifting Sands: oil exploration in the Rift Valley and the Congo conflict (Pole Institute)

Fears of mismanagement, as oil fever grips Chad (IPS)

Settlement reached in human rights Wiwa vs. Shell case (CCR/Earth Rights International)

Poison fire: oil and gas abuse in Nigeria (Friends of the Earth International)

The people of Nigeria versus Shell (Friends of the Earth International)

Whose oil? Sudan's oil industry: facts and analysis (ECOS Network)

Old habits die hard (Pambazuka)

World Bank OK with blood for oil (TomPaine.com)

The first oil well in Nigeria: the people's version (Third World Network Africa)

Nigerian oil fuels conflicts: surviving under Shell (Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA)/ Choike)

Oil in Africa and the paradox of plenty (Africa Files)

Chad's oil revenue management experiment in crisis (Bank Information Center)

Oil drives the genocide in Darfur (ZMag)

Whose energy future? Big oil against people in Africa (GroundWork)

Communities sue oil companies to stop nigerian gas flaring (Friends of the Earth International)

Chad-Cameroon: pumping poverty (Friends of the Earth)

A happy birthday?: The Chad/Cameroon oil pipeline one year on (Pambazuka)

Sudan, oil, and human rights

Iraq and Middle East

Oil in Iraq (Global Policy)

Map: oil and military presence in Caspian and Middle East region (Christian Science Monitor)

The war on Iraq: goals and implications (Choike)

Houston, we have a problem (CorpWatch)

A global picture

Keep oil underground, the only way to fight climate change (OilWatch)

Shilling for Chevron (Planeta Porto Alegre)

Life after the oil crash

Death and disease: the oil curse (World Rainforest Movement)

Lessons not learned: the other Shell report 2004 (Friends of the Earth Internationa)

A noose, not a bracelet (The Nation)

World Bank funnels taxpayer funds for poverty reduction to Halliburton, Big Oil (SEEN)

The Energy Tug-of-War: Winners and Losers in World Bank Fossil Fuel Finance

Latin America

Ecuador: struggle against the petrol companies (Sarayacu)

ChevronTexaco faces trial in Ecuador for rainforest destruction (CorpWatch)

US military aid and oil interests in Colombia (American Friends Service Committee)

Update on Occidental Petroleum and Plan Colombia (CorpWatch)

Ecuador: oil, indigenous peoples and the environment (CorpWatch)

US oil interests in Colombia (Colombia Mobilization)

Blood of our mother: spin over substance

Ecuador: Oil and militarized corporate terrorism (Upside Down World)

Coca, petroleum and conflict in Cofán territory (Transnational Institute - TNI)

Occidental petroleum in indigenous territory in the Peruvian Amazon (AmazonWatch)

Lessons form Venezuela (Third World Network)

Ecuadorans put Chevron on trial (Common Dreams)


The axis of oil (Global Policy)

Caspian Oil Windfalls: Who Will Benefit? (Eurasianet)

Choike is a project of the Third World Institute
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