16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence
25 November - 10 December 2007
|Justice for the Niger Delta Women Project
Nigeria is the third largest supplier of oil to the Unites States, making up 15% of the US' oil supply with projections it will increase to 25% over the next ten years.
Since the execution murder of environmental activist Ken Saro-WiWa by
his own govenrment in 1995, the world has learned of the increasingly
violent conflict between the behemoth multinational oil companies - including MisFortune 500 companies ChevronTexaco (a joint venture witht he Nigerian government), Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, among others - who
extract billions of dollars from a despoiled landscape and the
impoverished people of the Niger Delta, who struggle to survive.
The local population, 70% of whom subsist on less than $1 per day, is left with no running water, electricity, schools, hospitals and now no livelihoods. What was once one of the most fertile parts of Africa is increasingly barren. Pollution and devastation of fishing grounds in a now important and oil dependent market have diminished women's ability to provide for their families.
As oil hits $90 per barrel it is the women of the Niger Delta who have paid the highest price. Niger Delta women are subjected to daily
brutalization, rape, military and oil industry prostitution, beatings,
arrests, destruction of homes and pollution of land and loss of
Where once there were poor but self-sufficient people with rich farmland and fisheries, there is now an unfolding ecological collapse of horrifying dimensions in which the land, air and water are increasingly unable to sustain human life, but the women and their families have no place else to go.
In an environment where mobile police and soldiers continue harassing, molesting, attacking and killing people and where the US militariy is circling the resources, Niger Delta women are mobilizing en masse to effect the political system, to gain resource control and put women in decision-making positions.
Today women of the Niger Delta, from the bush and from the ciities, are risking their lives to fight for social, political and economic change - using everything from serious cultureal taboos to authoring constitutional amendments.
In a place where guns and violence are used to solve conflicts, women are organizing across ethnic boundaries, taking over where men have failed. They are continuing to challenge the nexus of power where 'Big Oil' and the Nigerian government through non-violence. Women are mobiliing as a humanist movement, in support of their communities' desperate strugle for survival.
The Justice for Niger Delta Women Project is undertaking to empower these courageous women by documenting their important human rights tory for dissemination to worldwide media and the US press.
Help support the Project to fund a small delegation of Niger Delta Women travel to New York in February to tell their story at the 2008 UN Commission on the Status of Women! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information.
Information submitted by the Justice for Niger Delta Women Project.