|BP Unprecedentedly Excludes Shareholders from Annual General Meeting|
Press release from:
BP shareholders expressed outrage today as oil giant BP refused to allow them to enter its Annual General Meeting (AGM).
The shareholders had come from Azerbaijan and Georgia to raise their concerns about the hugely controversial Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline directly with the BP Board of Directors.
But BP - in a move never seen before at a British company's AGM - refused them entry, citing "security" concerns. This was despite the fact that the shareholders had agreed to cooperate with security measures.
One of the shareholders, Mirvari Gahramanli, is Chair of the Committee for Protection of Oil Workers' Rights in Azerbaijan. She has insisted that BP immediately reinstate workers who have been sacked for complaining about their working conditions, and stop discriminating against Azeri people.
Gahrahmanli noted, "The pipeline is being implemented in Azerbaijan without any respect for human rights or national laws. BP must start to behave responsibly, and compensate landowners for the land they have lost. And they should treat Azeri workers in the same way they treat British and American workers."
Mayis Gulaliyev, of the Monitoring Group for the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey Pipelines System, added, "In Azerbaijan, we are given no information and BP ignores us - it only talks to organisations that unconditionally support the pipeline. So we came from Azerbaijan, as shareholders in BP, to raise our concerns about the pipeline. But here too BP has excluded us."
Mina Dadalauri, of Georgian group Green Alternatives, said, "Coming from the situation in Georgia, where BP is preparing to build a pipeline through a protected national park territory, I came to vote for the resolution to stop BP from damaging the important territory. BP risks its reputation along with our natural environment. But I was denied the chance to vote."
Greg Muttitt, of the environment group PLATFORM which is co-hosting the shareholders, commented, "This is a completely unreasonable - and probably illegal - move. UK company law requires companies to allow their shareholders into an Annual General Meeting, as a key opportunity for them to address the Board. Frankly, it makes BP look as though they have something to hide from their own shareholders as well as the general public."
For further information, contact:
Greg Muttitt, PLATFORM, 07970 589611