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You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2003 / 0325

0325

london, tuesday 25 march 2003

no public money for new oil

uk taxpayers fund destruction and fuel future conflict



100 campaigners will build a 150 metre pipeline outside the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to protest against UK taxpayer funding for the proposed Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. The pipeline has been painted with slogans opposing the project (such as 'No Public Money for New Oil') in English, Kurdish and Georgian and will be accompanied by Kurdish dancers and a belly dancer. The pipeline will travel to the BP office at Finsbury Circus. BP is the company leading the project.

12.40 - outside the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Bishopsgate, EC2. A pipeline, 150 metres long, will be built outside the EBRD and a section of pipeline will be presented to EBRD.

13.10 - the pipeline will arrive at BP's office at Britannic House, Finsbury Circus, EC2, where a second section of pipeline will be presented to BP

Campaigners will build a giant pipeline in the City of London on Tuesday (25 March), in protest against plans to use UK tax-payers' money to help fund a highly controversial 1,750 km oil pipeline through Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The pipeline will cause huge social and environmental disruption and will fuel conflict in an unstable area. The Baku-Ceyhan Campaign, which includes Friends of the Earth, the Kurdish Human Rights Project, the Corner House and PLATFORM, opposes the proposal.

The protest will target the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is partly funded by UK taxpayers, and which plans to help fund the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, despite its remit to promote sustainable development. It will also target British oil giant BP, which leads the consortium promoting the pipeline. A simultaneous protest will take place in Tblesi, Georgia.

A recent fact-finding mission to Turkey has recorded widespread human rights abuses of people who oppose the pipeline proposal. Members of the mission were trailed throughout and prevented from meeting with local people [1].

The EBRD and International Finance Corporation of the World Bank (IFC) is holding a consultation on funding for the pipeline, which will carry oil from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean.

The Baku-Ceyhan Campaign objects to the proposal because the pipeline will:

  • make climate change worse. The pipeline will transport oil which, when burnt, will be equivalent to thirty per cent of the UK's yearly carbon dioxide emissions;
  • create local pollution. Oil spills are inevitable. The pipeline runs through areas prone to erosion and earthquakes.
  • damage unique and sensitive natural habitats, including Georgia's primeval beech forest, and threaten the hugely important Borjomi mineral water aquifer
  • increase tensions in a turbulent region. Eastern Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia have all experienced recent conflicts. The pipeline will require substantial security, and will be a prime target for terrorist attack.
  • increase human rights abuses and repression. Kurds have been fighting for an independent Kurdistan for more than 15 years. This has displaced up to 3 million people and destroyed villages and hamlets. Turkey has been widely condemned for human rights abuses;
  • distort the economies of the three nations due to an over reliance on oil and increase in corruption.

Friends of the Earth's energy campaigner Nick Rau said:

"This project is an environmental disaster in the making. UK tax-payers' money must not be used to fund this damaging and dangerous pipeline. It will add to climate change, pollute the environment, cause upheaval to local communities and become a potential source of conflict in an already volatile region. The EBRD should be funding sustainable solutions to our energy needs, not creating even bigger problems for the future."

A full briefing on the Baku-Ceyan Pipeline is available from Friends of the Earth, see www.baku.org.uk for more information or read about the local story.

Notes [1] Representatives from Corner House, the Kurdish Human Rights Project, the Bar Human Rights Committee, Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale and Platform took part in the mission,which visited the Turkish section of the Baku Ceyhan pipeline. A report on their detention is available - contact Nick Hildyard for more information.

Contact: Nick Rau 020 7566 1714 Roger Higman 020 7566 1661 (m) 07780 661807 Nick Hildyard, Corner House, 01258 473795

 

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