EarthRights International (ERI) combines the power of law and the power of people in defense of earth rights. The organization defines earth rights as those rights that demonstrate the connection between human well-being and a sound environment, and include the right to a healthy environment, the right to speak out and act to protect the environment, and the right to participate in development decisions. EarthRights specializes in fact-finding and legal actions against perpetrators of earth rights abuses, training for grassroots and community leaders, and advocacy campaigns. Through these strategies, ERI seeks to end earth rights abuses, and to promote and protect earth rights.
The Cultures of Resistance Network supported the work of ERI, along with its co-counsel, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), aimed at holding the oil industry in Nigeria accountable for its role in the repression and violence suffered by the people of the Niger Delta. On June 8, 2009, Royal Dutch/Shell agreed to a landmark, $15.5 million settlement of the human rights cases known collectively as Wiwa v. Shell. ERI and CCR filed the suits against the oil company on behalf of relatives of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni activists. In 1995, nine prominent activists were executed for their nonviolent organizing against Shell’s activities in the Ogoni homeland in the Niger Delta.