Skip to content

NEWS: UN special rapporteur on water raises concerns about open-pit mine

Catarina de Albuquerque

Catarina de Albuquerque

The UN News Centre reports, “The construction of (the Phulbari) open-pit coal mine in Bangladesh could displace hundreds of thousands of people and jeopardize their access to basic needs, a group of United Nations independent human rights experts warned today.”

“The group noted that if opened, the proposed mine would immediately displace an estimated 50,000 to 130,000 people, with up to 220,000 potentially being affected over time as irrigation channels and wells dry up. …Experts also warned that the mine could potentially destroy waterways supporting 1,000 fisheries and nearly 50,000 fruit trees. ‘Access to safe drinking water for some 220,000 people is at stake,’ said Catarina de Albuquerque, Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation.”

“The group of seven independent experts consists of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter; Catarina de Albuquerque, Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation; Raquel Rolnik and James Anaya, Special Rapporteurs on adequate housing and indigenous peoples, respectively; Maina Kiai, the Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and association; as well as Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression; and Magdalena Sepúlveda, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.”

The Council of Canadians is currently organizing a ‘Shout Out for Mining Justice’ conference that will take place on June 1-3 in Vancouver. The ‘Shout Out’ will particularly focus on the water impacts related to mining. For campaign blogs related to mining and water, please see http://canadians.org/mining.

The UN News Centre media release is at http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=41398&Cr=Bangladesh&Cr1=.