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Brazil: Christian Aid praises police for bringing criminal charges against mining company over Brumadinho dam disaster


Toxic sludge has covered homes, farmland, livestock and people.

Toxic sludge has covered homes, farmland, livestock and people.

Source: Christian Aid

Christian Aid has welcomed reports that Brazil's Federal Police is bringing criminal charges against Vale for environmental crimes for its role in the Brumadinho dam disaster and has called for urgent "justice and compensation."

The international development charity, which co-authored a report into the incident this year alongside the Movement of People Affected by dams (MAB) as part of a project aimed at ensuring redress for people affected, believes a further 33-45 dams are vulnerable and leaving thousands at risk.

The Brumadinho dam's collapse on 25 January 2019 released 11.7 million cubic meters of toxic waste and mud, killing 270 people and contaminating the Paraopeba River and nearby water systems and lands. An estimated 944,000 people have had their livelihoods impacted.

Christian Aid is calling for families of the people killed by the Brumadinho dam disaster and people who have been displaced or lost their livelihoods to be fully compensated by Vale and responsible state actors.

The Brazillian Federal Police's investigation found evidence on the commission of crimes against animal life, flora, water resources, and various crimes of pollution. Federal prosecutors will now evaluate the conclusions and determine whether charges will be brought.

Fionna Smyth, Head of Global Policy and Advocacy for Christian Aid, said: "Families have been torn apart by the Brumadinho disaster and the community remains devastated nearly three years on. Reports that criminal charges are to be brought for environmental crimes against Vale are a positive step but must come with real justice and compensation.

"Nothing short of an independent, thorough and swift criminal investigation into what can only be described as serious human rights violations will do.

"We also need systemic change. No longer should mining companies be left to mark their own homework. With other dams posing a risk, we need an international agreement that places the rights of people before greed."

Christian Aid's report, The true cost of mining: Ensuring justice for people and communities affected by the Brumadinho dam disaster - can be found here: www.christianaid.org.uk/sites/default/files/2021-01/Brumadinho%20Report.pdf


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