In This Review

The Price of Oil: Corporate Responsibility and Human Rights Violations in Nigeria's Oil Producing Communities
The Price of Oil: Corporate Responsibility and Human Rights Violations in Nigeria's Oil Producing Communities
By Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch, 1999, 224 pp

This report assesses the human rights impact of oil extraction in southeastern Nigeria, drawing on site investigations by Human Rights Watch and its subsequent communications with Shell and four other major oil companies. Although respect for the rights of citizens has improved since the end of Sani Abacha's military regime last year, the authors conclude that abuses in the oil-producing regions continue, raising serious questions about the business practices of the industry giants. Environmental degradation and other harmful changes in the Niger Delta were partly inevitable, but the government's failure to compensate citizens for their losses has turned an unjust situation into a tinderbox of protest aimed primarily at the oil companies. The corporate response has been to look the other way while the government uses murderous force against the protesters. Human Rights Watch calls on the companies to face up to their responsibility and use their enormous influence to bring the Nigerian government's practices in line with international human rights standards.