The collapse of the dam owned by Vale in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, completes two years today, January 25. The disaster, which dumped almost thirteen million cubic meters of ore into Córrego do Feijão, affected thousands of lives in different areas – economy, education, health, among others. In addition to the 27 million square meters of vegetation affected, 272 deaths were reported. 11 people are still missing, affectionately referred to by the population as “the 11 jewels”.
The people affected continue to fight for the effective reparation of their daily lives and the environment, however, without much success. The judicial settlement related to the compensation for collective damages and losses caused by the burst of the dam is being elaborated between the mining company Vale S.A, justice institutions and the government of Minas Gerais in the Court of Justice of Minas Gerais, however, it is being elaborated without the participation of those affected by the disaster, which violates the right to informed participation, essential in the discussion of reparations for disasters of great magnitude, as is the case of Brumadinho.
In addition, it was decreed secrecy in the process for the duration of the negotiations, making it impossible for those affected to evaluate the terms of the agreement. The lack of transparency makes it impossible to learn about the clauses, which can be harmful to the interests of those affected and violates the principle of transparency, since it makes information regarding the process inaccessible to the population.
The characteristics of the process certainly meet the objectives of Vale, that was responsible for the burst of the dam and is in a better position to impose its interests. Such changes in the process violate several national guidelines on Human Rights and Business, such as full access to justice for people and communities affected by violations ¹, the principle of the centrality of the victim² and the guarantee through the state of mechanisms of full reparation to those affected³, among others.
Due to this injustice, Homa – Human Rights and Business Centre, in partnership with the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), the Movement for Popular Sovereignty in Mining (MAM), Global Justice, and the International Articulation of People Affected by Vale (AIAAV), sent an official letter to the Brazilian National Human Rights Council, the Office of the National Ombudsman, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights regarding the settlement on the socio-environmental crime of the dam collapse at Córrego do Feijão Mine, in the basin of the Rio Paraopeba river, in Minas Gerais. The institutional report aims to denounce these and several other violations of the process, and can be accessed in the following link: http://homacdhe.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/2021_01_26_Oficio_no04-1.pdf