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Shell to Sea highlights human rights abuses to UN

News Release: Issued by Shell to Sea - 25th March 2011

This week Shell to Sea sent in its submission to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review, which is due to review Ireland's human rights record in October 2011.

In its submission Shell to Sea highlighted some of the human rights abuses that have been inflicted on campaigners over the 11 years of opposition to Shell's inland refinery[1].

As part of the submission, Shell to Sea stated that despite the fact some of the human rights abuses of campaigners at the hands of the Gardaí have been documented by a number of human rights organisations, no repercussions to any Gardaí have resulted. Despite the fact that the Corrib protest are the biggest single source of complaints to the Garda Ombudsman, no Garda has ever been brought to court or faced any punishment over their conduct.

The submission also highlighted the fact that the Minister for Justice refused the request from the the Garda Ombudsman to investigate the public order aspects of the Corrib protests. As a Frontline Human Rights report stated this creates “the impression that the State does not want the Garda Síochána held properly to account over the policing of the Corrib dispute”[2].

Speaking on the failure to hold the Gardaí to account, spokesperson Terence Conway stated “Just this week, word was received that another assault carried out on a Shell to Sea campaigner last year would be going unpunished by the Garda Ombudsman. This is the third serious assault carried out by this individual Garda that I am aware of, that has been complained to the Ombudsman and in every case the Garda has got off scot-free and continued to re-offend”.

Increasingly though we are seeing the Gardaí taking more of a back seat and attempting to leave the policing of the protests to IRMS, which is a private security firm. In many instances is in unclear as to what legal authority IRMS has to take their action, yet the Gardaí seem to give them free rein to do as they wish to protesters”.

Meanwhile spokesperson Maura Harrington stated “The recent Garda decision refusing to attend a public meeting with members of the community, seems to indicate that the Gardaí will seek to continue with their blind willingness to do whatever Shell want and won't even listen to the views of the community”.

ENDS

FOR VERIFICATION AND COMMENT CONTACT
Maura Harrington 087 959 1474
Terence Conway 086 086 6264

 

NOTE TO EDITORS:

[1]United Nations Universal Periodic Review http://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/upr/pages/uprmain.aspx

[2] Front Line Human Rights Defenders – “Breakdown of Trust: a Report on the Corrib Gas Dispute: http://ww.frontlinedefenders.org/files/en/corrib_gas_report.pdf

 

Shell to Sea is a national campaign with active groups based across Ireland. The Shell to Sea campaign has three main aims.
1) To renegotiate the terms of the Great Oil and Gas Giveaway, which sees Ireland’s 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent* off the West Coast go directly to the oil companies, with the Irish State retaining a 0% share, no energy security of supply and only 25% tax on profits against which all costs can be deducted.
2) To have the Corrib gas field exploited in a safe way that will not expose the local community in Erris to unnecessary health and safety and environmental risks.
3) To seek justice for the human rights abuses suffered by Shell to Sea campaigners due to their opposition to Shell’s proposed inland refinery.

*This figure is based on the estimate, issued by the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) in 2006, that the amount of gas and oil in the Rockall and Porcupine basins, off Ireland’s west coast, is 10 BBOE (billion barrels of oil equivalent).