Oral statement on the report of Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights

29/09/2009
Press release

FIDH
Oral intervention
HRC 12

Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights, and its addendum presenting his conclusions following his missions to Côte d’Ivoire and the Netherlands.

FIDH has been working for many years on the adverse human rights impacts of the shipbreaking industry and is an active member of the NGO Platform on Shipbreaking.

The NGO Platform on shipbreaking shares the analysis of the Special Rapporteur on a number of shortcomings of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Convention. In particular, we deplores the fact the "beaching method", understood as the breaking of ships on tidal beaches which is common practice in South Asia is not to be progressively banned under the current IMO Convention. The NGO Platform considers that breaking ships directly on beaches is a practice that can never be accomplished in a ammner which is environntally sound or protective of workers rights and health. We consider that it might legitimize current practices including the human rights abuses that are inherent to these practices, and considers it is regressive with regard to well-established principles including the principles of environmentally sound managment, the polluter pays principle , the waste prevention and the transfer no harm principle.
The NGO Platform encourages the Special Rapporteur to take part in the discusssions of the Open-Ended Working Group of the Convention to ensure that human rights are duly taken into account when criteria are established to determine whether the new IMO Convention provides an equivalent level of control as that found in the Basel Convention.

Regarding the Trafigura case, that FIDH and its member organisations in Côte d’Ivoire have been closely following, FIDH applauds the statement of the Special Rapporteur recognising that there is "strong prima facie evidence that the reported deaths and adverse health consequences are related to the dumping of the waste from the Probo Koala". FIDH shares his concerns on the inexistence of victims consultation for the settlement of the agreement between Côte d’Ivoire and Trafigura in February 2007, and regrets that the judges of the Court of Appeal deciding not to bring the directors of Trafigura and Puma Energy (its subsidiary company in Côte d’Ivoire) to trial. In October 2008, the Cour d’assises sentenced two smaller stakeholders in this case to prison and acquitted the 7 other prosecuted individuals. FIDH will soon release a report presenting the outcomes of the judicial observation mission it sent to Abidjan during the September-October 2008 trial. Trafigura has not yet been held accountable for these crimes, in spite of the company’s responsibilities, and it is contesting the consequences of the dumping in criminal and civil legal proceedings in different countries, notably in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. This occurs in spite of numerous reports linking the dumping to the death of at least 16 persons and the intoxication of more than 100.000 persons, as well as the Special Rapporteur’s evaluation of Trafigura’s compliance with specific elements of due diligence in relation to the dumping of the waste in Abidjan, confirming that Trafigura failed in disclosing with clarity the composition of the Probo Koala’s slop tanks and at least misevaluated the Abidjan port reception capacities and waste disposal capacities. FIDH calls for the accountability of the main persons responsible for this human and environmental catastrophy, and the effective implementation of victims rights to truth, justice and reparations.

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