Human Rights Watch made extensive recommendations for the redress of human rights abuses in the Niger Delta in our 1999 report The Price of Oil: Corporate Responsibility and Human Rights Violations in Nigeria's Oil Producing Communities. In addition to those recommendations, which largely remain relevant, we urge the following:
To the Nigerian government
· Fully investigate and prosecute members of the security forces, and the civilian authorities giving them instructions, who are implicated in human rights violations in the oil producing areas, including those responsible for past abuses in Ogoniland and Odi. Compensate victims for acts constituting violations of international human rights, including those in Ogoniland and Odi.
· Take steps to end the impunity for those responsible for inter- and intra-communal conflict in the Niger Delta by investigating all credible allegations of murder, rape and other violent crime, and prosecuting those responsible. Investigate and prosecute all persons, including leading political or military figures, implicated in incitement or conspiracy to commit communal violence.
· At state government level, take steps to resolve long-standing disputes between communities over claims to benefits from the presence of oil facilities, in particular by facilitating the determination of clear boundaries by appropriate authorities, whether through agreed mediation structures or the courts, and by publishing the reports of commissions of inquiry into communal conflict and acting on their recommendations.
· Repeal or amend laws promulgated under military rule that violate international fair trial standards, including the Petroleum Production and Distribution (Anti-Sabotage) Act and the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act.
· Undertake a review of laws affecting the relations of oil companies with the communities in which they operate, including the Land Use Act, the Petroleum Act and its subsidiary legislation, and other laws regulating payment of compensation for damage to livelihoods caused by oil operations, with a view to ensuring that those adversely affected are adequately compensated and protected by due process of law.
· Strengthen the provisions for independent audit of development funds spent in the Niger Delta, including by state and local governments and by the Niger Delta Development Commission; strengthen the work of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission to enable it to investigate all allegations of corruption, with a particular focus on the delta, and institute prosecutions where appropriate.
· Request the Niger Delta Development Commission to undertake a review of oil company practices in making payments and undertaking development projects in their "host communities" with a view to promoting the equitable distribution of such benefits and reducing the likelihood of their occasioning conflict between communities.
· In line with the international "Publish What You Pay" campaign, require transnational corporations operating in Nigeria to publish all net taxes, fees, royalties and other payments made to the Nigerian state, at any level, or to other community representatives.
To the Oil Companies Operating in Nigeria
· Publicly support the U.S./U.K. Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and bring company policy into line with the principles.
· In accordance with the Voluntary Principles, conduct risk assessments to assess the patterns of violence and of abuse by the law enforcement agencies in the areas where the company operates, in order to take preventive action. Regularly report on implementation of the principles.
· Take care to ensure that the employment of local people for the provision of security at oil facilities does not result in abuses by those hired or in violent conflict between or within communities for the right to control such contracts. Where private security is engaged, whether from local communities or elsewhere, ensure that such security observes ethical conduct and respects human rights, and acts in a lawful manner.
· Monitor the behavior of public law enforcement agencies and private security deployed at or near to oil facilities, and when abuses occur, raise concerns privately or publicly as necessary with the appropriate authorities.
· Negotiate with the Nigerian federal authorities in order to screen and give human rights training to public law officials deployed at or near company premises.
· In line with the international "Publish What You Pay" campaign, publicly disclose, in a disaggregated, regular and timely manner, all net taxes, fees, royalties and other payments made to the Nigerian state, at any level, or to local communities, including compensation payments and community development funding.
· Ensure credible third-party audits of community development assistance, including payments that are given to community representatives in order to disburse or spend on community projects and employment agreements with local communities. The results of such audits should be public and intended to ensure that those funds are ultimately used for their stated and intended purpose.
· Conduct a "human rights impact assessment" for each new project or facility. Such assessments should assess any potential human rights problems related to security arrangements and the potential for creating or exacerbating conflicts that could lead to human rights abuses; and develop plans to mitigate any identified risks. If such an assessment concludes that the human rights risks cannot be adequately mitigated, then the companies should consider whether it is feasible to continue development of those facilities or projects under such circumstances.
· As members of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Stock Exchange, jointly undertake a review of the policy of providing development projects and other benefits only to "host communities," with a view to providing development assistance in a way that reaches a larger part of the population and does not exacerbate local tensions.
To the G8 Countries, European Union and Member States, and International Financial Institutions
· Maintain pressure on the Nigerian government to respect human rights, the rule of law and good governance.
· All governments that host oil companies operational in Nigeria-in particular, the U.S., U.K., Netherlands, France, and Italy-should appoint officers within their embassies to monitor the situation in the delta and raise human rights issues with the oil companies and the Nigerian government.
· Monitor companies' compliance with the U.S./U.K. Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and encourage those that have not subscribed to the principles to do so.
· In line with the commitments of the G8 Africa Action Plan, support efforts to improve respect for human rights and the rule of law in the Niger Delta (as elsewhere in Nigeria), including through security sector reform, conflict resolution initiatives, and measures to combat corruption.
· Take steps towards the creation of a binding code of conduct for multinational oil companies headquartered in the G8 countries or member states of the European Union, based on initiatives to develop such codes within the United Nations, the U.S./U.K. Voluntary Principles and appropriate human rights standards.
· Work with the Niger Delta Development Commission and other appropriate authorities to ensure maximum transparency and consultation on the design and implementation of development projects.
· In line with the international "Publish What You Pay" campaign, require transnational corporations to publish all net taxes, fees, royalties and other payments made to the Nigerian state (or other states), at any level.