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Dutch court grants Greenpeace right to stage peaceful protests against
Amsterdam, October 5, 2012 -- Royal Dutch Shell has failed in its bid to
win a sweeping injunction against two offices of Greenpeace, a setback to the
company’s attempt to end protests by the environmental group over Arctic oil
In a ruling issued today, Shell’s proposed injunction was rebuffed by the
President of the Amsterdam court, Han Jongeneel, who said the protests
Greenpeace Netherlands has already taken in the Netherlands at Shell’s
headquarters and petrol stations were both proportionate and appropriate in
light of Greenpeace’s earlier efforts to end Shell’s Arctic oil drilling through
“A company like Shell, that is taking actions or plans to take actions that
are controversial in society and which many people will object to, can and
should expect that actions will be taken to try to change its mind. Such actions
– in order to be effective – will have to be capable of disadvantaging Shell,”
“The principle of proportionality entails that actions should not go beyond
what is necessary to reach the intended goal. To date, Greenpeace has respected
this requirement by not taking action at all Shell fuel stations (about 600),
but at approximately 70. Therefore, there is no need to grant an injunction on
this point; although Greenpeace will have to continue taking this requirement
into account in future,” the judge said.
The ruling, which is in place for the next six months, allows activists to
stage protests at Shell properties in the Netherlands for a maximum of two hours
and to disrupt fuel sales for up to an hour.
Greenpeace is pursuing a major international campaign against the oil giant
over its plans to drill in the melting Arctic, and Greenpeace offices across the
globe have staged a series of peaceful direct actions at fuel stations, on
icebreaking ships and at company offices over the past year.
Responding to the news, Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi
“Shell’s latest attempt to silence its critics has failed. The judge
rejected the majority of this injunction and has reminded the company that civil
disobedience is a right in democracies, even when its business is impacted. Over
two million people have joined our campaign to protect the Arctic and they will
not be deterred by unwarranted legal bullying.
“We must ask ourselves which party in this case presents a greater threat
to the public interest – a peaceful environmental group or a desperate oil
company determined to send rigs into the freezing Arctic ocean. Shell has no
credible response plan in the event of an oil spill, which would be a financial
and environmental disaster.
“This injunction will not prevent us from opposing Arctic drilling
passionately and peacefully both in the Netherlands and across the world. We
can’t match Shell’s enormous financial muscle, but we have creativity and
millions of people behind us. This is the defining environmental battle of our
time and we have only just begun.”
Shell initially demanded an injunction that would have prevented Greenpeace
activists or sympathisers anywhere in the world from protesting legally within
500 meters of any Shell property – even on public land at the risk of fines of
more than 1 million euros.
The company was forced to narrow its request after the judge cautioned that
he could throw the case out if he considered the claim excessive. The judge
granted a limited injunction, which left two offices – Greenpeace Netherlands
and Greenpeace International – facing penalties of 25,000 euros for every hour
that they are in breach of the injunction.
This year Shell has pursued a highly aggressive legal strategy against
Greenpeace and a range of other environmental groups:
• In the United States, Greenpeace US is subject to an injunction
preventing staff or supporters from coming within 500 metres of any Shell
drilling or support vessel.
• Separately, Greenpeace US and 12 other US environmental and Indigenous
groups are being sued to preempt challenges to the company’s oil spill response
• In New Zealand, police are pursuing an inflated NZD 725,000 (€467,000)
damage claim on behalf of Shell against activists, including actress Lucy
Lawless, who occupied one of its two Arctic drilling rigs.
Shell’s final request contained a clause which demands that Greenpeace
International “instruct other Greenpeace offices around the world to refrain
from any action that would interfere with Shell’s business in the
The injunction granted today is limited to Greenpeace International and
Greenpeace Netherlands. National and regional Greenpeace offices around the
world operate independently in contributing to the implementation of global
campaign strategies decided by Greenpeace International.
NEW DELHI, October 05, 2012 - The World Bank today signed a
$500 million credit agreement with the government of India to support the
government’s efforts at making good quality education available, accessible and
affordable to all young persons at the secondary level (grades IX and X).
The Secondary Education Project will support all activities
as envisioned in the $12.9 billion Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA)
program, the flagship government of India program for gradual universalization
of secondary education.
The government has made great strides in the area of elementary education
over the past ten years. Net elementary enrollment rate stands at 96 percent and
girls are almost equally represented in elementary education as boys. Attention
is now needed for secondary education where the gross enrollment rate stands at
about 60 percent and quality of education is very low. Access is also unequal
and many poor households cannot afford the costs of secondary education,
particularly in rural areas.
This Project is designed to meet critical needs in secondary education.
First, to make sure that secondary education expands in such a way that quality
and equity are enhanced at the same time; second, to develop and evaluate
innovative approaches to secondary education; and, third, to leverage World Bank
resources to help the Government address systemic issues in the sector.
“The government of India has been investing in primary education for more
than a decade and a half. These investments have resulted in more elementary
graduates, which means that the demand for secondary education has gone up
tremendously, especially in the last five years. Also, the skills and knowledge
requirements of the labor force in a globalized economy requires high quality
secondary graduates. This necessitates revamping the secondary education system
in India,” said Prabodh Saxena, Joint Secretary,
Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. “It is in response to
this surging demand that the government has launched the Rashtriya Madhyamik
Shiksha Abhiyan or RMSA – a centrally-sponsored scheme – on the lines of Sarva
Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). This World Bank Project will support the objectives and
activities of RMSA.”
The agreement for the Secondary Education Project was signed by Prabodh
Saxena on behalf of the Government of India and Onno RËhl, World Bank Country
Director for India on behalf of the World Bank.
“The Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) program has a major focus
on the quality of education, in addition to access. Recent international
research confirms that improved quality – measured by cognitive skills – is
important in determining future income and contribution to economic growth.
Hence the country needs its entire young people to get good quality secondary
education,” said Onno Rûhl, World Bank Country Director
for India. “RMSA is a young program which is expected to grow rapidly and
the World Bank is proud to have the opportunity to support the government of
India in building effective systems as the Program expands while improving
This World Bank Project will support the objectives and activities of RMSA.
It will facilitate a whole set of mechanisms built around identifying what is
needed to improve the quality of secondary education. The RMSA Program has also
established a monitoring system, which will be further enhanced through this
Project, including a forthcoming new grade ten national assessment. Teachers
will be appointed and trained using new pedagogical techniques in line with the
National Curriculum Framework 2005. Provisions will be made for setting up
libraries, science and computer laboratories.
Today, most of the economic and employment growth in India is taking place in
skilled services like information technology, financial services,
telecommunications and skill-intensive manufacturing, all of which require, at a
minimum, a secondary education degree. Surveys show that someone who completes
secondary education can expect to earn 36 percent more than someone completing
primary education, which indicates companies are looking for the types of
knowledge and skills gained.
The Project also recognizes that teachers are vital to the success of the
RMSA Program. “Efforts to improve quality will not succeed unless there are
sufficient and capable teachers in all classrooms supported by the Program. The
Program will also encourage and provide resources for innovations, which will
spark new solutions for quality, equity and access, and promote public-private
partnerships", said Toby Linden, the Project’s Task Team
Leader and Lead Education Specialist, World Bank.
In addition, expansion, repair and renovation will take place in some 60,000
existing government secondary schools; some 44,000 upper primary schools will be
upgraded into secondary schools; and about 11,000 new secondary and senior
secondary schools will come up mainly in underserved areas. Efforts will also
be made to strengthen the role of local bodies in school management, which can,
over time, lead to greater accountability and improved outcomes.
The Project will be financed by a credit from the International Development
Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm – which provides
interest-free loans with 25 years to maturity and a grace period of five