, Washington, DC
Trigger Warning: This post contains excerpts from legal documents detailing human rights abuses, including attempted rape.
It came between cat memes, Call Me Maybe parodies, and an Instagram of a friend’s feet next to his lunch. On a Facebook photo posted by EarthRights International, next to the familiar “thumbs up” icon, were four simple words: “Esther Kiobel likes this.”
I’d known for months that the Supreme Court would be hearing a corporate human rights case this fall called Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Shell), but I hadn’t really considered that Kiobel was an actual person. I was caught off guard by this unexpected proximity to a woman who had been so intimately violated by the abuse of corporate power half a world away. Esther Kiobel is one of fourteen named plaintiffs who have accused Shell of conspiring with the Nigerian military to violently suppress a non-violent movement of the Ogoni people protesting Shell’s oil activities in the Niger Delta, both directly and via its subsidiary SPDC.
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