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November 19, 1996
The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Drive
Dear Minister Axworthy:
As you are aware, November 10th marked one year since writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed by the Nigerian authorities. The November 10, 1995 executions in Nigeria of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other people were condemned by persons of conscience throughout the world. The Nigerian military government's refusal to heed international calls for amnesty, in spite of widespread recognition that Ken Saro-Wiwa and the others did not commit the crimes they were accused of, underscored the enormity of the regime's actions. The Nigerian authorities, in a pre-meditated and methodical manner, murdered nine people whose non-violent advocacy of environmental and human rights was perceived as a threat to the flow of the regime's oil production revenues.
In spite of limited sanctions imposed by the Commonwealth, the military government of Nigeria continues to target environmental and human rights activists. In recent months the regime has arrested dozens of Ogoni activists, including a radio producer detained for broadcasting an Ogoni song.
Given the Nigerian regime's evident decision to ignore international moral censure, we the undersigned individuals and groups, call on the Government of Canada to take the following actions:
- Tighten sanctions, including a complete embargo on oil imported from Nigeria.
- Press for the expulsion of Nigeria from the Commonwealth.
- In international forums and in direct communication with the Nigerian regime, advocate the demilitarization of Ogoni land.
- Demand that Nigeria release the "Ogoni 19", all of whom have been detained on false charges.
- Take action within the United Nations and other international forums, to ensure that representatives of the Nigerian military government are held accountable for violations of human rights in the Ogoni region and elsewhere.
British Columbia Government & Service Employees Union, Local 301
Canadian Committee to Protect Journalists
Concerned Groups for Democratic Change in Nigeria
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) Canada
National Farmer's Union
Rural Dignity of Canada
Sierra Club of Canada
Sierra Club of Canada
412-1 Nicholas Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B7