Trade unions in Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

24 May 2019 06:00

Opening of Inter-American Commission on Human Right

Last week, BWI affiliates---SITICOP MG of Brazil and BITU of Jamaica participated in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights which took place in Kingston, Jamaica. The unions highlighted the human rights violations of Vale SA and the Brazilian government in relation to the tragic collapse of the Brumadinho dam, in Brazil in January 2019.

A group of ten civil society organizations and trade unions including SITICOP MG, BWI and National Network of Dam workers’ Trade Unions, issued a joint statement expressing their outrage with the "insensitive" position of the Brazilian government regarding the current situation of the victims of the horrific disaster. In addition, they once again reiterated their demand for an in-depth and transparent inquiry regarding the causes of the dam collapse as Vale SA continues its violations without any punity from the Brazilian government.

The organizations called for the following:

1. INFORM on the current number of dams without a stability certificate, as well as potential estimated damage in case of collapse;

2. REVERT, through concrete measures, labour and environmental legislation weakening on topic of dams safety;

3. STOP dismantling inspection and workers protection structures and mining; reestablishment of the Ministry of Labor;

4. SHARE dam safety self-monitoring by miners themselves, because it is insufficient and inadequate to ensure law respect by companies;

5. REPEAL current procedural legislation on security suspension, because it is authoritarian and incompatible with the guarantee of fair judicial process;

6. ESTABLISH in the law, the duty of every mining company to preserve affected people’s dignity by its economic activity, forcing the company to make a fair and regular emergency payment to victims during damages investigation and reparation process negotiation;

7. FIXING in law, a mechanism capable to reduce inequality impact between mining company and affected people during damage investigation, by forcing the company to bear the costs of technical advice freely chosen by victims so reparation process can be considered as fair;

8. RECOGNIZE as null and outrageous to human rights protection, every attempt of transferring responsibility of damage repair resulting from mining activities, to the foundation or any other figure that exempts caused-damage company to indemnify victims;

9. PROMOTE a rapid administrative, civil and criminal responsibility to any mining company that violates human rights, and specifically to Vale, BHP Billiton and Samarco in the case of the of Fundão (Mariana), and again Vale, in the case of Corrigo do Feijão in (Brumadinho);

10. ANNULATE and prevent all mining company conduct, or from anyone else, tended to prevent or hinder communities and workers right to access justice and a fair judicial process;

11. ELIMINATE and render worthless all vis-à-vis agreements, coercion, simulation, and all actions that contradict justice proper administration and rules of work organization;

12. PROHIBIT and deconstitute every agreement between public authority and mining company that abstractly limits whether type and reparation value of an accident, without prior knowledge and effective participation of the affected communities and workers.