Protest at Shell activities in Syria

17th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dutch religious organisation IKV Pax Christi demonstrated on Tuesday at the annual meeting of Shell, urging a suspension of the oil company's activities in Syria. IKV wants Shell to suspend its operations in Syria because of the unrest in the country.

IKV spokesperson IKV Egbert Wesselink said: "Shell wants to promote human rights. It cannot be neutral in Syria, and must temporarily suspend any links with the government." IKV Pax Christi claims that Shell cannot possibly guarantee that it is not in any way involved in human rights violations.

The organization says that Shell is a major player in the Syrian oil industry. It is part of a joint venture, the Furat Petroleum Company, the largest oil producer in the country. The company explores oil fields in the east of the country.

Last week, the European Union placed thirteen people in Libya on a blacklist, which means EU countries cannot do further business with them. Among them is telecom tycoon Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of Syrian President Assad. Mr Makhlouf is also said to have major stakes in the oil industry.

Shell said in a reaction that it is not planning to suspend its activities in Syria. "We are working according to our general policy and principles in our code of conduct. So we are working in a proper manner and we shall continue to do so," said Shell spokesman Wim van der Wiel.

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