Complaint filed against TÜV SÜD in Germany over role in Brumadinho dam collapse
On 15 October 2019, five Brazilians affected by the Brumadinho dam failure in January 2019, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Misereor filed a law infringement complaint against TÜV SÜD as well as a criminal complaint against a TÜV SÜD employee with the public prosecutor in Munich. Four months prior to the deadly dam collapse, TÜV SÜD had confirmed the dam’s safety when its Brazilian subsidiary issued a stability declaration. TÜV SÜD and the manager declined broadcaster ARD's request for a comment on the allegations - with reference to the ongoing investigations.
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Author: ECCHR, Misereor, Associação Comunitária da Jangada and International Articulation of People Affected by Vale
More than 270 people were killed, the drinking water of thousands of people was contaminated and the environment destroyed when the B1 dam near Brumadinho in Brazil broke on 25 January 2019. Only four months prior, German auditor TÜV SÜD confirmed the dam’s safety when its Brazilian subsidiary issued a stability declaration. For this reason, on 15 October 2019, five of those affected by the dam failure, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and MISEREOR filed complaints against the German certification company and one of its employees. The accusations: negligent homicide, private bribery, causing a flood by negligence, and violating supervisory duties...
Vale S.A. [...] rejects all responsibility for the dam failure at its mine, citing TÜV SÜD and the test results of its Brazilian subsidiary. Certifiers’ roles in the global economy are controversial...
“Human rights due diligence and the care for nature must take precedence over corporate economic interests. The action of TÜV SÜD shows that we urgently need a binding law for corporations to ensure that this is not left to a company’s discretion...,” said Pirmin Spiegel, Managing Director of MISEREOR.
The Brazilian company Vale S.A., the mine's operator and world's largest iron ore exporter, is under investigation by the Brazilian public prosecutor's office. In order to clarify TÜV SÜD's responsibility, five Brazilians who lost close family members in the dam failure, ECCHR and MISEREOR filed a criminal complaint against a TÜV SÜD employee, as well as a law infringement complaint against TÜV SÜD, with the public prosecutor in Munich. Brazilian organizations Associacão Jangada and International Articulation of People Affected by Vale support the complaints. Lawyer Bernhard Docke and Professor Carsten Momsen represent those affected in the supplementary lawsuit.
Those affected by the breach, ECCHR and MISEREOR accuse TÜV SÜD of having contributed to the dam failure near Brumadinho in the complaints. Despite obvious safety risks, TÜV SÜD did not prevent its Brazilian subsidiary from issuing the required dam stability declaration...