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Four years after the dam disaster in Brazil: the EU must finally take action

Four years after the dam disaster in Brazil, the EU must finally take action

In Brumadinho, those affected and their families are still fighting for compensation, and an EU-wide supply chain law could drastically reduce the risk of similar incidents

On January 25.01.2019, 272, a dam collapse in a Brazilian iron ore mine killed 300 people and robbed thousands of their livelihoods. Shortly before the accident, the German company TÜV Süd had certified the safety of the dam, although some of the shortcomings were already known. “It is very clear that the certification failed here. Not only did the dam burst claim the lives of nearly 300 people, it also contaminated the local Paraopeba River. A greatly increased concentration of heavy metals such as copper was measured here over a distance of 112 kilometers. In addition, over XNUMX hectares of rainforest were destroyed,” warns Anna Leitner, Spokesperson for Resources and Supply Chains at GLOBAL 2000. “Nevertheless, hardly anyone has been held accountable here to date. Mining is one of those sectors that affect people and the environment the most, as a new study shows Case study of the Epiphany action on iron ore imports to Austria. Nevertheless, the legal basis for holding corporations accountable for breaches of their duty of care is still lacking.”

The environmental protection organization GLOBAL 2000 sees great potential here in the EU Directive on Corporate Due Diligence (CSDDD, short: EU Supply Chain Act), which is currently being negotiated. This EU supply chain law could provide the legal framework for holding companies responsible for all damage that occurs to people and the environment along their upstream and downstream value chains. “Nothing can bring back the lives lost. Importantly, however, for the bereaved and for all those who suffer from corporate greed and negligence, the directive imposes strict rules on European companies. The supply chain law must prevent such tragedies and create a legal framework through which those affected receive just compensation,” says Leitner.

A strong supply chain law must   Damage to the environment and injury   Include human rights along the entire value chain. That is why GLOBAL 2000, together with more than 100 civil society organizations and trade unions across Europe, are also calling for strict climate commitments in the directive. “We can only tackle the climate crisis if those who cause the greatest emissions of greenhouse gases also pay the price. Currently, these costs are not included in production. However, the consequences of this are not borne by those who cause them, but by the people in those regions who are already being hit the hardest by the consequences of the climate crisis. That needs to change!" says Leitner in conclusion.

Photo / Video: GLOBAL 2000.

Written by Option

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