The extraction and production of oil often wreaks havoc on the lives of those who live in its midst and in its wake.
In many oil-producing less economically developed nations, indigenous people are forced to live in cancer zones where the land and the water are heavily contaminated with toxins. And in these smaller, underdeveloped countries, oil extraction has often been supported by regimes with poor human rights records, known for their corruption and abuse of civil liberties. As oil production increases, often the poverty level of regular citizens and indigenous peoples increases as well. These people rarely benefit from the wealth extracted from the land on which they live.
To learn more about the human impact of oil and how you can support organizations currently working to address issues of human rights, poverty and health in oil- producing nations:
AI is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights. AI’s research and actions focus on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination.
Human Rights Watch
HRW is an independent NGO that stands with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice. HRW investigates and exposes human rights violations and holds abusers accountable, challenges governments ato end abusive practices and respect international human rights law, and enlists the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.
The Pachamama Alliance
Pachamama is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization working to raise awareness of the global impact of rainforest destruction and collaborating with the indigenous peoples of the rainforest to protect their native lands from oil exploitation. Pachamama recognizes that indigenous people are the rainforests’ natural custodians, and key strategies of their alliance focus on strengthening their culture and empowering their ability to stand for and represent their own interests.
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People
This campaigning organization represents the Ogoni people of the Niger delta region in their struggle for ethnic and environmental rights. Its primary targets have been the Nigerian government and the Shell oil company.
Rainforest Action Network
RAN works to protect the Earth’s rainforests and support the rights of their inhabitants through education, grassroots organizing and non-violent direct action. RAN employs hard-hitting campaigns to bring corporate and governmental policies into alignment with rainforest conservation. RAN works in alliance with environmental and human rights groups around the world, including indigenous forest communities and non-governmental organizations in rainforest countries.