Friday, September 09, 2005

Amnesty International: U.S. Consortium's African Oil Pipeline Threatens Human Rights

Amnesty International accused U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil of putting profits over human rights with its involvement in a multibillion dollar oil pipeline that runs from Chad to a seaport in the West African nation of Cameroon.

Amnesty said in a statement there was "a prevailing climate of fear and intimidation around the pipeline, some of whose critics have already been arrested and intimidated."

"The US$4.2 (euro3.37) billion Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline risks freezing human rights protection for decades to come for the thousands of people who live in its path," Amnesty said.

Opponents say the pipeline threatens to pollute farmlands and has disrupted local communities. Some impoverished farmers in the region claim they've been denied access to water supplies and their land, which ExxonMobil refused either to compensate them for or to return to them," Amnesty said.

Human rights activists have long argued that oil, far from being a boon to citizens of developing countries, can exacerbate official corruption, weaken democracy and widen the gulf between rich and poor.


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