In February 2019, under growing public and political pressure, the US EPA finally announced plans to address PFOS and PFOA, two toxic chemicals widespread in drinking water that are still unregulated in the US after decades of use. Instead of praise, the EPA announcement triggered anger after the public realized that the agency will conduct years of assessment before actually regulating them. US residents may be more incensed if they know that the rest of the world has already acted globally on these substances.
The UN Special Rapporteur for toxics, Baskut Tuncak, authored an important new report concerning the human rights of workers exposed to toxic substances and will present it at the upcoming 39th session of the Human Rights Council. The report is relevant to formal and informal workers dealing with pesticides and industrial chemicals of all kinds.
Where did the slick smartphone you got for the holidays come from? You might imagine a remote futuristic industrial park, with robotic assembly lines whirring in ultra-efficient silence. But the workers assembling your phone are actually real people, and the conditions in which they work are far from humane.
(San Jose, CA, USA) An International Day of Action Against Samsung to protest health, labor and human rights violations by the electronics giant will take place on May Day in Asia, Europe and the United States. The actions, in solidarity with Samsung factory workers everywhere, include delivery of severalpetitions with over 200,000 signatures calling on Samsung to protect their hundreds of thousands of electronics factory workers around the world. Demands for transparency come on the heels of a Samsung lawsuit against the South Korean government which seeks to prevent public disclosure of hazardous chemicals monitoring information.
(Gothenburg, Sweden): UN human rights experts have raised concerns about human rights violations at Samsung Vietnam (20 March 2018) in a joint statement. The three UN human rights experts, Mr. Baskut Tuncak, Ms. Anita Ramasastry, and Mr. David Kaye, expressed concern that Samsung’s intimidation and legal threats against workers and researchers who conducted a study into the lives of women workers constitute a breach of human rights.