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NGOs publish report on Brazilian mining & steel industry, raise concerns about health of communities close to operations, call on Vale to stop alleged pollution

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Company response
31 May 2011

Response by Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (now Vale): "Human Rights Impact Assessment Report" on the mining & steel industry - includes health concerns, calls on Vale to stop alleged pollution.

Author: Vale

Review by Vale of the report “The mining and steel industry’s impacts on human rights in Açailândia, Brazil – How much are human rights worth?” Published on May 19, 2011 in the state of Maranhão by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

It is with regret that we are placed in the position of having to refute serious unfounded accusations of human rights violations made against us...We were surprised not to have been given access to the report before it was distributed to the media. We expected that a serious institution like FIDH would adopt a proactive and conciliatory approach. However we were faced with a media spectacle used to judge and convict based on unsubstantiated data. The documents presented, when analyzed under the law, do not stand. It is precisely through working together that we have made a great deal of progress in our relationships with communities, pursuing shared goals and positive results for all stakeholders. Institutions that work with this mindset have our utmost respect and we seek to support them in the challenges that we face in our operations...Main points to be clarified [listed]

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Company response
+ Português - Hide

Author: Vale

[V]imos...esclarecer as falsas e sérias acusações de violação de direitos humanos que nos foram feitas...[P]rocuramos atender a todas as solicitações da FIDH. Recebemos seus representantes em...2010...e enviamos as respostas solicitadas de forma a serem inseridas no Relatório...[A] Vale foi a única empresa a se pronunciar...[N]ão tivemos acesso ao relatório antes de seu lançamento...[e] não tivemos oportunidade de esclarecer...informações equivocadas, parciais ou fora de contexto...Esperávamos que uma instituição séria como a FIDH adotasse uma postura propositiva e conciliadora e ao contrário nos defrontamos com uma busca ansiosa pela presença na mídia de forma agressiva...já que o Relatório julga e sentencia, sem que...haja fundamentação sólida e verdadeira...[O]s supostos documentos que norteariam os fundamentos do Relatório, se analisados sob a ótica do direito e da lei, não resistem...

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Article
18 May 2011

How much are human rights worth in the Brazilian mining and steel industry?

Author: International Federation for Human Rights

The International Federation for Human Rights, Justiça Global and Justiça nos Trilhos publish a Human Rights Impact Assessment Report recounting affected communities’ voices and calling on the world’s largest mining company according to Forbes’ latest ranking, Vale, and its business partners in the steel industry to stop environmental pollution of communities in the State of Maranhão, Brazil...The report analyses the impacts of the steel and mining industry on the communities’ health and environnement, shedding light on another side of developpement projects. [T]he report’s findings highlight difficulties in accessing information regarding environmental impact assessments, obtaining reparation before courts as well as moral and judicial harassment faced by human rights defenders denouncing negative human rights impacts linked to Vale’s activities.

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Article
18 May 2011

[PDF] Brazil - How much are human rights worth in the Brazilian mining and steel industry? Executive Summary

Author: International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Justiça Global and Justiça nos Trilhos

This report focuses on the description and analysis of the impacts and harm caused by activities of the mining and steel industry in the municipality of Açailândia in the state of Maranhão, Brazil...The process of investigation underscored grave health problems generated by the emission of pollutants on the part of the iron plants and coal furnaces. This pollution of the air, the water and the soil has brought respiratory problems, eye and skin problems...The mobilization of the communities seeking redress and reparation for the damages suffered has been characterized by difficulties in access to information, irregularities in the approval process for environmental impact studies, and attacks on the honor and reputation and freedom of expression of the social actors mobilized in favor of the affected communities. [refers to Vale and Ferro Gusa Carajás (part of Vale)]

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