Five years after the dumping of toxic waste by oil-trading group Trafigura affected more than 100,000 people in Ivory Coast, thousands still await compensation, Amnesty International said Friday.
“It is unacceptable that so many people who were affected by the dumping have not received the compensation money they are entitled to,” said Benedetta Lacey, AI’s special advisor on corporate accountability.
The London-based watchdog urged the government of the country’s newly-installed and Western-backed president, Alassane Ouattara, not to replicate the opacity that prevailed under his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo.
“These payouts have been dogged by repeated delays and a lack of transparency. President Ouattara?s government must act decisively to show that corruption and misappropriation of funds will not be tolerated.”
Amnesty International said that Trafigura had paid $260 million so far but added that much of the money remained unaccounted for.
“On the fifth anniversary, we must think about the victims. There are 300 people in my area who have not yet received their compensation,” Genevieve Diallo, representative of a victims? group next to Akouedo dumpsite, was quoted as saying in the Amnesty statement.
“Those who have misappropriated the money must be brought to justice. Justice must be done,” she added.
On August 19, 2006, toxic waste was brought to the Ivorian economic capital Abidjan on board the ship Probo Koala, which had been chartered by Trafigura.
The waste was then dumped in various locations around the city. More than 100,000 people sought medical attention for a range of health problems and there were 15 reported deaths.