Charter of Rights against Industrial Hazards: Permanent Peoples' Tribunal on Industrial Hazards and Human Rights

Social Justice, Winter 1996 | Go to article overview

Charter of Rights against Industrial Hazards: Permanent Peoples' Tribunal on Industrial Hazards and Human Rights


Preamble

The Permanent People's Tribunal on Industrial Hazards and Human Rights,

Having convened four Sessions in New Haven, Bangkok, Bhopal, and London since 1991 to receive testimony and deliberate on issues relating to the right to life, occupational health and safety, environment protection, risk management, and damage reduction in the wider global context of hazardous production;

Having drafted over a period of four years a charter of rights designed to reflect the views and concerns of persons injured and distressed by industrial hazards, and having issued on the second day of December 1994 a Draft Charter for comment and discussion among individuals and nongovernmental organizations, including trade unions;

Following the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action of the World Conference of Human Rights, and other relevant international human rights instruments;

Guided by the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21, the Draft Declaration of Principles on Human Rights and the Environment, the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and other relevant instruments for prevention of industrial and environmental hazards;

Guided further by International Labor Organization conventions and recommendations, including the Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, the Convention on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining, and the Convention Concerning the Prevention of Major Industrial Accidents;

Gravely concerned by the widespread diffusion of hazardous products and processes resulting in industrial practices that cause human, social, and environmental destruction, threatening in particular the habitat, life, economy, society, and culture of indigenous peoples;

Deeply concerned by the frequency of small-scale but harmful hazardous events, as well as the magnitude and nature of major industrial accidents, including the incidents in Seveso, Chernobyl, Bhopal, Basel, and elsewhere;

Concerned by the ineffectual national and international system of hazard prevention, post-disaster relief, medical and legal assistance, and legal accountability, which in their current forms have failed both to adequately prevent occupational and environmental hazards and to bring to account those responsible for worldwide deaths and injuries;

Noting that urgent action is needed to prevent future degradation to human life, animal life, and the environment and to adequately remedy the harms caused by industrial hazards;

Recognizing that the personal experience and repeated demands of community members and workers affected by hazards provide the most sound basis for the enunciation of rights;

Cognizant of the inherent limitations of national and international law, as well as the vital role of community organizations and people's movements in preventing and ameliorating industrial hazards; Convinced that new national and international systems of prevention, relief, and legal accountability must be formulated and established;

DECLARES THE FOLLOWING:

Part I: Rights of General Application

Article 1: Non-Discrimination

1. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Charter, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, nationality, political opinion or affiliation, ethnic or social origin, disability, age, property, sexual orientation, birth, income, caste, or any other status.

2. On account of the particular discrimination faced by women, both as waged and unwaged workers, attention should be given to the specific application of the rights stated below where women may be affected. …

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