April 30, 2010
The following news release has been issued by the International Movement of Those Affected by Vale:
A dossier of complaints and violations of social and environmental impacts caused by Vale projects in eight countries has been delivered to the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
As well, representatives of the International Movement of People Affected by Vale spoke at the General Meeting of Shareholders of Vale, on April 27 in Rio de Janeiro, highlighting some of the complaints featured in the document.
The dossier was sent to special rapporteurs of the UN, including the rapporteur on housing rights, as well as representatives of the UN Secretary General, such as Mr. John Ruggie, who is responsible for matters relating to the activities of transnational corporations. Furthermore, the document was also delivered to the Commission on Human Rights of the OAS. The content must be analyzed and the company’s board must be called to give explanations.
On behalf of groups holding Vale stock, representatives of the International Movement of People Affected by Vale spoke at the Assembly of Stockholders, but received no response from the company’s board, which declined to comment about the complaints.
The group also circulated a written statement of the United Steelworkers (USW) – the union representing Vale workers In Canada who have been on strike for almost 10 months – and distributed a letter to Vale shareholders. The letter draws attention to the possibility that violations and the social and environmental impacts of business operations could have an adverse impact on the company’s image and its stock price.
“Sooner or later, violations and instances of misconduct may result in legal liability, fines and work stoppages which will be included in the analysis of the market value of the company and its shares,” the letter states. “Investors should verify that the company actually operates with the social and environmental responsibility that it claims to have.”
Participants at the Assembly included some 35 groups of Vale shareholders. Government representatives were present, the Caixa Economica Federal, Banco do Brazil, Valepar and international groups such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and JP Morgan.
“This kind of ‘questioning’ participation is very common in Europe, the USA and Canada, but it is the first time it happens in Brazil at a big company shareholders’ assembly,” said Danilo Chammas, a lawyer attending the meeting. “This could be a milestone in the regulation and supervision of the activities of transnational companies based in Brazil.”
Between April 12 and 15, the First International Meeting of People Affected by Vale took place in Rio de Janeiro, with about 160 people from over 100 organizations, unions, social movements and communities from 13 countries and nine states in Brazil. The cases reported at the meeting are related in the dossier submitted to the UN and the OAS.
CONTACT: Gustavo Mehl, 55 (21) 8212-1095