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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

Human Rights

IPEN Co-Chairs Pamela Miller and Olga Speranskaya sign a statement in support of workers and former workers of Samsung at the IPEN 2016 Global Meeting & Toxics-Free Future Forum

November 18, 2016: An Open International Declaration To the Board of the Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.--   A Call for Justice and Human Rights for the Workers, Former Workers and Their Families

Issued from the Global Meeting of IPEN—San Francisco, California USA

English / Español

IPEN is a global network of more than 500 public interest non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in 116 countries to establish and implement safe chemicals policies and practices that protect human health and the environment. This week, 120 of IPEN’s environmental, health and human rights leaders from 55 countries are meeting in San Francisco, California in the U.S. for a Global Meeting and Toxics-Free Future Forum (14-18 November 2016). During this meeting, we have had the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of the ruthless treatment and negligence perpetrated by Samsung against its workers. We are outraged by Samsung’s illegal tactics that include brutal and unsafe working conditions, toxic exposures, physical and mental harassment, use of child labor, wiretapping, bribery, and thwarting of unionization. These unconscionable actions violate the fundamental human rights, health, and dignity of the workers and their families.

한국어 IPEN has joined with trade unions and public interest organizations to endorse a letter from Supporters of Health and Rights of People in the Semiconductor Industry (SHARPS) to Mr. Jae-yong Lee, the heir apparent of Samsung Electronics. The letter urges Mr. Lee to initiate a new dialogue with SHARPS about his company’s occupational disease victims. As of September 2016, SHARPS has profiled 223 Samsung Electronics employees who developed a variety of serious diseases including leukemia, brain tumors, and multiple sclerosis. Of the 223 victims, 76 have died.
 
A recent AP investigation outlined how Samsung has requested government authorities to withhold critical information from sick workers about chemical exposures. The Samsung issue is occurring during a global effort to address hazardous substances within electronics as a global emerging policy issue under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management.
 

IPEN Participating Organization Ecological Alert and Recovery-Thailand (EARTH), along with Chulalongkorn University, National Health Commission Office of Thailand, Kumamoto Gakuen University, and Collaboration Center for Minamata Disease Victims, organized a program and public conference from 9th-12th September, 2016 in Thailand. The program aimed to discuss lessons learned from the Minamata industrial disaster and how to apply those lessons for a sustainable society and environment.

Today, top-tens of the biggest polluters of Kazakhstan based on the official data were published. The charts reveal that the environment has been greatly contaminated by steelworks Kazakhmys and ArcelorMittal, oil companies KazMunaiGas and KazTransOil and power plant in Ekibastuz. Interactive map of facilities that exceed the safe threshold limits valid in the EU (1) is now available in clearly understandable form on-line at www.ecocitizens.kz.

We, Co-Chairs of the global NGO network of IPEN, express our deep concern over human injustice happening around the world. Too often violent conflicts over natural resources target environmental activists for harm. These conflicts include land grabbing, illegal logging, devastating mining, overuse and contamination of water resources, international investments violating local laws, and many other activities with the potential to irreversibly change the life of people and communities. 

Two murders happened in Honduras in March this year, taking the lives of two amazing individuals fighting for the rights of indigenous peoples to live in a protected and healthy environment. 

On March 2nd, Berta Cáceres, one of the leading indigenous activists in Honduras, a coordinator of the organisation COPINH and a Goldman 2015 Prize Winner, was assassinated in her hometown of La Esperanza, Honduras. Berta won the Goldman Prize in 2015 for her successful fight against the world’s largest dam builder, and in defense of the rights of indigenous peoples of Honduras. Her powerful speech at the Goldman Prize ceremony inspires us all. 

Two weeks later Nelson García, another member of COPINH, was murdered when he helped a group of poor families resist a land grab in the small town of Rio Lindo in Honduras. Both murders happened as a result of the violation of the right of free speech for activists defending the livelihoods of people. 

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