Un calls for those responsible for the disaster in Brumadinho to be brought to justice

In a statement to the Brazilian government, experts show concern over lack of environmental regulation and call upon Brazil not to authorise any new dams

Brumadinho MG 28 01 2019-Tragedy in the town of Brumadinho in Minas Gerais. Fire-fighters work to find victims. Photo: Ricardo Stuckert Brumadinho MG 28 01 2019-Tragedy in the town of Brumadinho in Minas Gerais. Fire-fighters work to find victims. Photo: Ricardo Stuckert

UN Special Rapporteurs call for a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation of the dam collapse at the Córrego do Feijão mine, on 25 January in Brumadinho (Minas Gerais). According to Civil Defence, there are now 84 fatal victims and over 270 people missing.

The United Nations experts say the tragedy demands accountability and calls into question whether there were efforts on the part of the companies and public authorities to adopt preventive measures subsequent to the Mariana disaster, in November 2015, when an even larger flood of mining waste killed 19 people and led to impacts that are still affecting the lives of millions of families today.

“We urge the government to act decisively on its commitment to do everything in its power to prevent more such tragedies and to bring to justice those responsible for this disaster.” The Rapporteurs said in a document sent to the Brazilian government.

In addition, the experts point, “with concern, to deregulatory efforts on environmental and social protection taken in Brazil over the recent years” and call upon the government not to authorise any new tailing dams nor allow any activities that would affect the integrity of existing ones.

The statement is signed by experts, Baskut Tuncak, Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes; Léo Heller, Special Rapporteur on human rights to water and sanitation; David R. Boyd, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment; and members of the Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises: Surya Deva, Elżbieta Karska, Githu Muigai, Dante Pesce and Anita Ramasastry.

According to Caio Borges, Coordinator of the programme, Development and Socioenvironmental Rights at Conectas, the UN declaration shows that this new disaster is also unacceptable with the international community and that the Brazilian state cannot ignore Rapporteurs requests and commit the same errors seen at the Rio Doce tragedy, that made the situation even worse.

“Unlike the way in which businesses and the authorities acted in the case of the Rio Doce, this time the whole remediation process must be carried out through legitimate means and this means the participation of the people affected.” The Lawyer explained.

>>> See here the UN statement


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