For Immediate Release
Amnesty International Says Dutch Conviction in Trafigura Toxic Dumping Case is Significant Step But Health Impact Must be Resolved
Multinational Company Had Denied Wrongdoing in Exporting Toxic Waste to Ivory Coast Where 15 Deaths were Reported and 100,000 People Became Ill
WASHINGTON - Amnesty International today welcomed the guilty verdict by
a Dutch court against the multinational company, Trafigura, for delivering
hazardous waste to Amsterdam while concealing its true nature and for then
exporting the waste to the Ivory Coast.
The verdict was the first time the company
has been held criminally accountable for its involvement in exporting the
hazardous waste to the west African nation.
“This judgment appears damning given
Trafigura’s previous denials of any wrongdoing. The waste, which was ultimately
dumped in Cote d’Ivoire, had a huge impact on the lives of tens of thousands
of people,” said Benedetta Lacey, a special advisor at Amnesty International
who has visited the country and met victims of the dumping.
“While the ruling is a significant step forward, this is not the end of
the story for those affected. There are unanswered questions about the
impact that the waste may have had on people’s health, and the areas where
the waste was dumped are yet to be fully decontaminated.”
The verdict also appears to raise serious questions about the failures
of the Dutch authorities, who could have prevented the tragedy by stopping
the waste from leaving Dutch borders. These questions have not been resolved.
Amnesty International is assessing the full text of the final verdict.
In July 2006, Trafigura off-loaded waste from a ship in Amsterdam for disposal,
but for cost reasons reloaded and transported the waste to the Ivory Coast.
The waste was then dumped in August 2006 in various locations around the
city of Abidjan. Following the dumping, more than 100,000 people sought
medical attention for a range of health problems and there were 15 reported
The Dutch prosecution focused on events in the Netherlands and does not
appear to consider the impact of the dumping in Ivory Coast, reflecting
the challenges of prosecuting companies for actions that cross borders.
“There is an urgent need for the international community to learn the
lessons from this incident. States must do more to ensure that multinationals
respect human rights both at home and abroad.” said Lacey.
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.