Brazil: Environmental crimes and corporate impunity

06/10/2020

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
(45th session)

In a previous statement during this session of the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur on toxic waste, Mr. Tuncak, made clear recommendations, based on the manifest deficiency of national regulation on transnational corporates in Brazil, calling for independent investigations into abuses of power by these entities.

The field analysis carried out by our partner the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) shows the lack of appropriate responses by the Brazilian government and its judicial bodies to fight against the impunity of multinationals.

As a reminder, on 25 January 2019, the Brumadinho dam broke. Owned by VALE (company with fiscal siege in Switzerland), this dam is located in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. More than 250 people died in the incident, most of them company employees who were eating in the canteen, besides material damages. The disaster also had serious environmental consequences. The mud, full of toxic residues, reached the Sao Francisco River (Brazil’s second largest river) on which 14 million people depend. Tests revealed an alarming level of metal (iron and aluminium in particular) in the water and fish, the main source of food for the local population.

In March 2019, supported by the CETIM, the MAB denounced this crime to the UN mechanisms and claimed access to justice for the victims. Following this denunciation, the Special Rapporteur on Toxic Waste visited Brazil at the end of 2019. Read his press release in English or Portuguese and CETIM’s press release.

In September 2020, during the 45th session of the Human Rights Council, Mr Tuncak presented his report on his visit to Brazil. You can read it here.

In this context, CETIM made a statement at the UN pointing out that almost two years after the disaster, the multinational VALE has still not been held accountable for the crime committed and calling on the Government of Brazil to implement the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations.

Read the statement

Listen to the statement

 

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