- Evidence indicates that the dumping of toxic wastes caused over one dozen deaths and dozens of illnesses in Côte d’Ivoire in 2006, an independent United Nations human rights expert said yesterday.
In August of that year, the cargo ship “Probo Koala” dumped 500 tonnes of toxic wastes, belonging to the Dutch commodity trading company Trafigura, at sites around the city of Abidjan, the West African nation’s largest city.
According to official estimates, 15 people died, 69 people were hospitalised and over 100,000 others, complaining of nausea and vomiting after inhaling fumes, sought medical treatment after the incident.
“We still don’t know - and we may never know - the full effect of the dumping” of the wastes, said Okechukwu Ibeanu, the Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the illicit movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes.
“But there seems to be strong prima facie evidence that the reported deaths and adverse health consequences are related to the dumping of the waste” from the Probo Koala, he added.
The expert has written a report after visiting both Côte d’Ivoire and the Netherlands to examine the impact of the dumping of dangerous wastes on the enjoyment of human rights.
He encouraged all parties involved to take steps “to address possible long-term human health and environmental effects of the incident.
“Further action should be taken to protect the right to life, the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and the right to a healthy environment of all affected victims and their families.”
Last August, Mr Ibeanu said the areas where the toxic waste was dumped still have not been decontaminated and continue to threaten the health of residents, with many Abidjan residents complaining of headaches, skin lesions, digestive difficulties and nose, throat and lung problems.
“The people of Abidjan need urgent assistance,” he said. “After two years, they continue to live in precarious conditions and their right to a healthy and safe environment continues to be violated.”
As a Special Rapporteur, Mr Ibeanu serves in an unpaid capacity and reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.