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A Call for Justice and Human Rights
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
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.
IPEN and our participating organizations represented at this meeting stand in solidarity with the workers and their families who have suffered as a result of Samsung’s ruthless treatment and utter disregard for their health and safety. We are deeply saddened to learn of the many people, most of whom are young women, who are suffering and dying from cancers and other diseases associated with exposures to toxic chemicals. We are aware that as of September 2016, the Supporters of Health and Rights of People in the Semi-Conductor Industry (SHARPs) has profiled 224 Samsung Electronics employees who developed a variety of diseases ranging from leukemia to brain tumors to multiple sclerosis. Of the 224, 76 have died. This tragic suffering and death could have and should have been prevented.
IPEN and our participating organizations support the courageous sit-in initiated by SHARPs and their supporters in October 7, 2015. We uphold their demands, including the following:
- Make a full and sincere apology for the occupational disease cluster that has harmed workers;
- Transparently and sufficiently compensate former workers who have contracted a variety of diseases while working at Samsung LCD and chip labs;
Samsung must immediately institute measures to protect worker rights and health at facilities worldwide. These include: providing a safe working environment, ensuring workers’ right to know about chemicals and associated health hazards, substitution of safe substances and materials, providing occupational health and safety training, providing proper protective gear and ventilation, and instituting regular independent health assessments and medical care for workers.
We demand a reply and commitment from Samsung that these conditions will be met. The company can never reverse the suffering perpetrated upon the workers and their families. However, the company can and must prevent further harm to workers and institute a system that remedies the harm done to former workers and protects current and future workers. The company has an obligation for the health, dignity, and rights of all of its past, current, and future workers.