Sixty million people are on the run worldwide, most from countries in the global South. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says one third of the refugees originate from Africa.
Wars, human rights violations, political instability, discrimination, poverty and the consequences of climate change and natural disasters are often named as causes for flight. But there is also ecocide — the destruction of livelihoods through the ruthless exploitation of raw materials and the subsidy politics of industrialised countries in the West.
Tens of thousands of Nigerian fisherpeople and farmers were given the green light to sue energy giant Shell in a British court on March 2 for a series of destructive oil spills in the Niger Delta over the past decade.
The action, brought by London-based law firm Leigh Day on behalf of Nigeria’s Ogale and Bille communities, alleges that decades of uncleaned oil spills have polluted fishing waters and contaminated farming land.
As well as a compensation package, both groups want the Anglo-Dutch oil company to clean up the land devastated by the spills.
On November 10, it was 20 years since Ken Saro-Wiwa, president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), and eight other Ogoni leaders were hanged by Nigaria's military dictatorship in Nigeria.
Known as the Ogoni Nine, their crime was demanding a share of the proceeds of oil exploitation.
The Niger Delta covers a huge area of some 27,000 square miles on Nigeria’s southern coast. Once almost all tropical rainforest, it has one of the highest levels of biodiversity on earth and is home to 31 million people. Ogoniland comprises 400 square miles in the eastern delta.