Geneva, 19 August 2008
Okechukwu Ibeanu, Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the illicit movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights, issued this statement today:
Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the extensive dumping of toxic waste in the district of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, mostly around human dwellings. My thoughts today are with the people of Abidjan who were directly affected by this tragedy. I am thinking especially of the families who lost their loved ones and those caring for their family members, still suffering from health problems.
I recently visited the district of Abidjan to gather first-hand information on the situation. I consulted Government officials and other stakeholders, including victims themselves, to ascertain how the situation was handled in the wake of the crisis I was also interested in follow-up activities that have been undertaken, and called upon the authorities to ensure that such incidents never happen again.
I call on the international community to assist the Government of Cote d’Ivoire to urgently take measures to decontaminate the sites and provide healthcare to the victims.
It is of utmost importance that the persons or entities responsible for these tragedies are brought to justice and compensation be provided to the victims and their families.
Mr. Ibeanu, Professor of Political Science at the University of Nigeria, was appointed Special Rapporteur in 2004.
For further information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, please visit the website: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/environment/waste/