Vizag gas leak a human rights issue: UN experts

Source : IANS
Author : IANS
Last Updated: Thu, May 14th, 2020, 20:06:15hrs

The styrene leak at the LG Polymers plant that killed 12 people and injured about 1,000 last week "illustrates the range of human rights infringements brought by our rampant consumption and production of plastics," Baskut Tuncak, UN's special rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes, said on Thursday.

His statement issued from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva was endorsed by the working group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations, which includes Anita Ramasastry and Surya Deva.

Tuncak said, "The latest disaster has rightly drawn parallels to the toxic gas leak that killed thousands in Bhopal, India, in 1984, involving another trans-national chemical company, Union Carbide of the United States."

While welcoming the "investigation, including possible charges of homicide," into the leak at the plant owned by the South Korean multinational LG Polymers, he said that steps should be taken "to avoid the same mistakes and abuse of judicial procedures that have denied justice to the victims of the Bhopal disaster, who are still suffering to this day."

"I am concerned about ensuring that the victims of exposure who develop diseases or disabilities later in life are provided an effective remedy," he added.

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that he wanted a full investigation into the gas leak.

"These kinds of incidents need to be fully investigated by the local authorities," he said.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at and followed on Twitter @arulouis)