Côte d’Ivoire: Stop Attempt to Defraud Toxic Waste Dump Victims

For Immediate Release

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Côte d’Ivoire: Stop Attempt to Defraud Toxic Waste Dump Victims

WASHINGTON - An attempt to defraud victims of the
Trafigura toxic waste dump disaster out of $45 million must be stopped,
Amnesty International said today in an open letter.

An organization known as the National Coordination of Toxic Waste
Victims of Côte d’Ivoire (CNVDT-CI) is falsely claiming to represent
some 30,000 victims who brought a court case against Trafigura in the
UK. The organization has applied for the $45 million compensation owed
to the victims to be transferred to its bank account.

CNVDT-CI will today appeal a decision in the Ivorian courts that
blocked it from receiving the compensation awarded in the UK
settlement.  

In an open letter to Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Justice, Mamadou
Koné, Amnesty International said that there is no evidence that
CNVDT-CI represents the 30,000 victims and described it as a “blatant
attempt to perpetrate fraud”.  

“This is a barefaced attempt to steal from the victims of this toxic
waste scandal,” said Widney Brown, Senior Director, International Law
and Policy at Amnesty International. “These people have suffered enough
and the Cote d’Ivoire authorities must ensure that justice is done so
that the claimants receive the money that is owed to them.”

The $45 million is currently subject to a freezing order and the victims have yet to receive their money.

Background
In August 2006, toxic waste was brought to Abidjan on board the ship
Probo Koala, which had been chartered by oil-trading company,
Trafigura.

This waste was then dumped in various locations around the city,
causing a human rights tragedy. More than 100,000 people sought medical
attention for a range of health problems and there were 15 reported
deaths.

On 23 September 2009, the High Court of England and Wales approved a
$45 million settlement between nearly 30,000 victims of the toxic waste
dumping and Trafigura.   

Notes to editors:

Amnesty International’s work on corporate accountability is part of
its Demand Dignity campaign, which aims to end the human rights
violations that drive and deepen global poverty. The campaign will
mobilize people all over the world to demand that governments, big
corporations and others who have power listen to the voices of those
living in poverty and recognize and protect their rights. For more
information visit http://demanddignity.amnesty.org/campaigns-en/

To see a copy of the open letter to the Minister of Justice in Côte d’Ivoire, please click http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR31/003/2009/en ">here.

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Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Our supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity. We have more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions and we coordinate this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.

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