The Movement Affected by Dams (MAB), a partner of Grassroots International and a leader in the struggle to protect communities suffering after recent dam collapses in Brazil, gained a new ally in the Attorney General in the struggle for justice for the families affected by the Brumadinho disaster. This comes as MAB confronts the company responsible for the Brumadinho dam collapse that killed more than 300 people in January and destroyed the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people and thousands of miles of land. Below is a report about the Attorney General’s comments, reprinted from MAB’s website.
In addition to supporting their ongoing work, Grassroots International and our supporters provided $14,325 in emergency funding in the wake of the Brumadinho collapse.
Attorney General Recognizes Importance of MAB and Reaffirms Rights of Victims of Tailings Dams Collapse
Last Tuesday, June 4, 2019, the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) attended the meeting with the National Observatory on Environmental, Economic and Social Issues of High Complexity and of Great Impact and Repercussion, in Brasilia, which included the Attorney General of the Republic, Raquel Dodge.
The meeting was also attended by the National Justice Councils and the Public Prosecutor’s Office, as well as representatives of various public institutions such as the National Water Agency, the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the state of Minas Gerais, the Government Secretariat, the Federal Attorney General’s Office, and the Public Defender’s Office.
MAB members present at the meeting, Joceli Andrioli and Anna Carolina Murata Galeb, denounced the current situation of those affected by the crime committed by the mining companies Vale and BHP Biliton in the municipality of Mariana, which affected the whole basin of the Rio Doce and the Espírito Santo coast. “We were able to show the complexity of the crime and the strategy used by the companies in the region, which continues to act criminally. The violations in the Rio Doce are evident, there is a lot of delay and enrollment,” says Joceli, denouncing also the many failures of the public institutions throughout the process.
MAB took also the opportunity to criticize the position of the 12th Civil Court Judge, who is contributing to the delay and enrollment in the process for reparations for the people affected by the crime in Rio Doce, acting close to the interests of the criminal companies responsible for the dams burst, instead of those affected.
“We can not repeat Mariana, we have to learn how it happens in the Rio Doce basin, where Renova Foundation disguises the corporate responsibility,” said Raquel Dodge, Attorney General.
The situation of the people affected by Brumadinho, where Vale’s tailings dam burst killed more than 300 people in January this year was also debated. The criticism by MAB and the Attorney General included the treatment and reparations for the violations suffered. The Attorney General has expressed concern about the performance of the Renova Foundation in Rio Doce, and disagrees with its form of reparation. “We can not repeat Mariana, we have to learn how it happens in the Rio Doce basin, where Renova Foundation disguises the corporate responsibility,” said Raquel Dodge.
She visited the region affected by the rupture of the Dam of the Córrego do Feijão Mine in Brumadinho and reaffirmed MAB’s importance. She said that all institutions of justice have been impacted by the breakup. Since then, various measures have been taken by the Observatory. Intense training of judges and prosecutors is being carried out to target a more effective action in cases such as this, as well as updating the internet system that tracks the lawsuits of those affected by dams, which already amount to eighty thousand cases of both crimes. “It has to have a concept of resolution in the process and ensure that justice is done. It is fundamental to unify the branches of the Justice System,” according to the Attorney General.
During the meeting, the Attorney General said she shared the same dissatisfaction as MAB with the agreement signed between Vale and the Public Defender of Minas Gerais, which she said is a breach of loyalty. The Attorney General also charged the current Government of the importance of approving and expanding legal frameworks to guarantee rights for those affected by dams in Brazil, of which is already being brought to debate in Congress.
MAB also received from the Observatory the invitation to present its theoretical accumulation of conceptual bases of the universe of those affected by dams, which will help in understanding the complexity of these kinds of crimes such as the dams bursts. These may be added to the recommendations and guidelines throughout the Justice System. “The meeting was very positive, there is a clear understanding of the size of the problem that the crimes generated in the lives of those affected and what the responsibility of the Justice System is. MAB will continue to accept the challenge of presenting the concept of those affected, about the rights of people affected, a reparation plan, and what we have already experienced from this debate,” Joceli of MAB stated.