National Council of Human Rights publish report on Brumadinho

The National Council of Human Rights commission visited in an emergency mission, the region affected by Vale’s crime, due to the rupture of the tailings dams at Córrego de Feijão, […]

The National Council of Human Rights commission visited in an emergency mission, the region affected by Vale’s crime, due to the rupture of the tailings dams at Córrego de Feijão, in Brumadinho (MG).


Photo: Filippe Chaves

In one of the first actions of the new formation of the National Council of Human Rights, which took place in December 2018, the delegation was in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, to investigate human rights violations generated by the crime of the mining company – Vale.

The mission took place between January 29 and 31 in the cities of Belo Horizonte and Brumadinho, after emergency approval by the board of directors, aiming to promote a qualified listener of the people affected and to propose emergency measures. Within the comission participated the adviser Leandro Scalabrin (ANAB) and the alternates Eduardo Queiroz (DPU) and Camila Asano (Conectas). During the mission, the delegation held meetings with the Joint Task Force of the Public Prosecutors’ Offices and Public Defenders; visited the community of Parque das Cachoeiras and Córrego do Feijão, heard public officials, and met several times with the people affected.

According to the report, approved by the National Council of Human Rights management: “It is evident that there is a systemic failure of Vale’s policies and operational processes within prevention, mitigation and remediation of violations of human rights and social and environmental damages”

It’s a crime

For the National Council of Human Rights (CNDH – acronym in Portuguese) the particularity of what happened in Brumadinho is the magnitude of the number of victims and the social-environmental impacts, which are very serious and materialize the recidivism of the company in this type of violations, repeating what occurred in the Rio Doce Basin on November 5th, 2015. What happened at then, according to the document, “it’s not a simple event as stated in the Terms for the Adjustment of Conduct (TAC – Portuguese acronym) signed between companies and the State”. We are referring to a “technological and criminal disaster.” The same happens now in the case of Brumadinho.

The recommendations made by the CNDH in May 2017 in its “Report on the Tailings Dam Breach of Samarco Mineradora’s and ts Effects on the Rio Doce River Basin”, designed and formulated as measures for the prevention and non-repetition of new rights violations were not followed by companies and by the Brazilian State. On the contrary, “in the interval between the rupture of the two dams – that of Fundão and that of the Córrego de Feijão – the Brazilian State dedicated less resources to the inspection of dams and weakened the legislative framework of environmental licensing,” states the report. In the specific case of the state of Minas Gerais, the report highlights the new law 2.946 /2015, which “loosened the requirements for the granting of environmental licenses and removed the evaluation of the potential environmental impacts of private enterprises from public control.”

According to informations of the economic paper Valor, the last time the ruptured dam in Brumadinho was visited by government technicians was in 2016, which shows that for two years Vale itself elaborated and sent to the National Mining Agency (ANM) its safety statements.


The delegation visited the sites affected by Vale’s toxic sludge. Photo: Filippe Chaves.


The Council makes a series of recommendations to the Minas Gerais and Federal Government, and the organs of the justice system, as well as Vale itself. The idea is to ensure “the representation of the people affected in the decision-making areas, and to ensure the right to informed participation with the involvement and deliberative consultation of those affected” in “all decision-making spaces on measures of mitigation, recovery and repair of emergency and long-term “.These recommendations also seek to ensure, among other things, that independent evaluations and studies are produced and that there is a guarantee of access to health, dignified income and social security protection for those affected.
The full report and all the recommendations can be read in the attached document (Portuguese).

Leandro Scalabrim, representative of the Vía Campesina Movements in the Council, emphasizes the importance of the mission: “it was extremely important because it was an agile response and due the seriousness of human rights violations occurred in the case. At the first annual meeting we approved the mission report and sent it to the responsible authorities, from which we demanded the necessary responses. “
The lawyer adds: “At times when they are being attacked, there are those who try to confuse people about the importance and extent of human rights. And it is through them that those affected can organize themselves to demand and claim their rights, information, participation and repair. Specially in this hard time we live in, where attacks on human rights and people’s lives are happening every day, the National Council of Human Rights CNDH’s plays its role. “

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