Shell:  We Will Always Remember!

10th November 2009 - Today marks the 14th Anniversary of the state murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa, an acclaimed writer and leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).  He was hanged along with eight other Ogoni leaders, after a trial before a military tribunal that was condemned around the world as a sham. Ken Saro-Wiwa's last words were: "Lord take my soul but the struggle continues." 

groundWork [1], Friends of the Earth South Africa [2] continues to recognise the pain and suffering of the people of the Niger Delta together with many people globally who today face the continual human rights abuses due to Shell’s fossil fuel extraction and production processes. 

Below is a ‘photograph’ [3] of the Shell Refinery in south Durban from which groundWork dropped a ‘Shell Remember Ken Saro-Wiwa’ banner today to commemorate the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the suffering of people globally. 

Shell banner


While Shell has settled out of court [4] in the matter between ‘Wiwa and Shell’ in June 2009 we believe that Shell’s global practices continue to visit pain and suffering upon the world as we know it, and they remain liable. 

Like the people of the Niger Delta, people continue to resist and through these actions are unfairly imprisoned in County Mayo, Ireland [5], where the safety of Shell’s gas plant development has been questioned.  In The Philippines, community people and government have called for the relocation of Shell’s petrochemical storage tank facilities in the community of Pandacan.  Close to home Shell continues to operate an oil refinery in south Durban where community people have called for stronger laws and enforcement to reduce the pollution from the facility.  This facility has a legacy of underreporting pollution, leaking petrol pipelines, inferior environmental monitoring systems – by their own admission – than their operations in the global North and regular plant upsets, explosions and fires that result in pollution being dumped on the south Durban community. 

Let us all never forget Ken Saro-Wiwa and the continuous suffering of the people of the Niger Delta. 


For more information

Bobby Peek, groundWork, Friends of the Earth International, 082 464 1383 


[1] groundWork is a environmental justice organisation working with community people from around South Africa and increasingly in Southern Africa, on environmental justice and human rights issues focusing on Air Pollution, Waste (including Health Care Waste) and Environmental Health. groundWork is a member of Friends of the Earth International.

[2] Friends of the Earth International is the world's largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 77 national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent. With over 2 million members and supporters around the world, FoEI campaigns on today's most urgent environmental and social issues. FoEI challenges the current model of economic and corporate globalization, and promote solutions that will help to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies.

[3] Note: The photo is a constructed image developed for groundWork to highlight the ongoing abuses of Shell globally. 

[4] For more information see On Eve of Trial, Settlement Agreements Provide $15.5 Million for Compensation to Nigerian Human Rights Activists and to Establish Trust Fund    

[5] For more information see