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ExxonMobil Victims Tell of Oil Giant's Environmental, Human Rights Abuses

DALLAS - PRNewswire - May 28

On the eve of the ExxonMobil annual shareholder meeting, a diverse group of indigenous people and community groups from across the globe gathered in Dallas to tell their personal stories documenting a wide range of human rights and environmental abuses by ExxonMobil

The media briefing sponsored by Amnesty International, Greenpeace, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), the Refinery Reform Campaign, PressurePoint and the Equality Project featured impacted residents who traveled all the way from Alaska, Louisiana, Russia, the South Pacific, Tibet and Columbia.

Spokesperson Chris Doran said: "Most U.S. consumers don't see the human and ecological consequences of our cheap gasoline, natural gas and coal. But to the international community representatives who are here in Dallas to tell their stories, those consequences are a painful fact of day-to-day life. For the first time, Dallas residents can see and hear firsthand exactly what ExxonMobil does around the globe. By uniting against the excesses of ExxonMobil, we take a stand against unbridled corporate power, the subversion of democracy, human rights abuses, and the attempted ecocide of our very planet."

The media briefing was held on the eve of ExxonMobil's May 29th annual shareholder meeting. Shareholders will vote on a range of proposals to curb ExxonMobil's human and gay rights abuses and to promote more responsible policies in relation to global warming and renewable energy.

ExxonMobil victims at the news briefing were:

* Armando Perez and Remedios Fajardo of Guajira, Colombia, where ExxonMobil has been the majority owner in El Cerrejon Norte, the world's largest open pit coal mine, and which is being expanded on Wayuu indigenous land. Last August, at the behest of ExxonMobil, the Colombian military forcibly removed the community of Tabaco, bulldozing native homes to make way for the expansion.

* Diana Tarasevich, a lawyer at Sakhalin Environment Watch (Sakhalin Island, Russia), who discussed how the effects of ExxonMobil's oil exploration on the community and environment have been devastating. Rapidly declining fish and whale populations illustrate the colossal negative impacts of ExxonMobil's oil exploration.

* Catherine McMullen, geomorphologist and global warming impacts specialist, who addressed the effects of global warming on the island of Tuvalu. This Pacific Island nation state is a first-hand witness to the effects of rising sea levels due to climate change. A low-lying island, Tuvalu faces the threat of complete submersion over the next fifty years. The citizens of Tuvalu have appealed to countries to help in the full-scale evacuation of Tuvalu's population.

* Ladhon Tethong, a Tibetan, who spoke about ExxonMobil's proposed partnership in the West East pipeline, which will displace native Tibetan and Uighur native peoples from their homeland in Chinese occupied Tibet and East Turkestan.

* Baton Rouge, Louisiana resident and activist Juanita Stewart, who highlighted problems with ExxonMobil's refinery in her community. Residents surrounding the refinery are primarily poor people of color experiencing disproportionately high levels of respiratory illnesses, cancer and other forms of health deterioration.

* Arctic Circle, Alaska native and Gwich'In elder Sarah James, who described ExxonMobil's efforts to increase oil exploration and drilling, specifically in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The Gwich'In rely on the caribou herds that breed on the coastal plain and would be severely endangered by any drilling.


Dallas is now playing host to the Climate Justice Summit, with five days of peaceful protest and educational activities leading up to the ExxonMobil shareholder meeting Wednesday, May 29.

The Climate Justice Summit is organized by non-profit organizations PressurePoint and UpRoar, with considerable assistance from a coalition of national organizations and community groups. Many of these groups, including Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and US PIRG, formally launched the Stop ExxonMobil Alliance on Wednesday. Campaigns targeting the company are being launch in Canada, Australia, and throughout Europe. A high profile boycott campaign has already been underway in the UK for over a year. In Dallas, local residents will see a three-day education camp with teach-ins, workshops and trainings, a forum for international community leaders, a mock trial of the company, and rally outside the shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

TO HEAR THE MEDIA BRIEFING: A streaming audio recording of the news event and a fact sheet about the speakers will be available on the Web as of 6 p.m. EDT on May 28th at http://www.hastingsgroup.com/exxonmobil_victims.html (with an underscore between "exxonmobil" and "victims").

Research Group; Refinery Reform Campaign; PressurePoint; Equality Project

Amnesty International; Greenpeace; U.S. Public Interest

Website: http://www.hastingsgroup.com/exxonmobil_victims.html


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