Letters to the Inter-American Commission 10 years after the admission of the case of La Oroya
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In a letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the tenth anniversary of the admission of their case, people affected by heavy metal poisoning in La Oroya, Peru call on the Commission to issue the Merit Report on the case. This step implies the hope of achieving justice in the face of the human rights violations the residents of La Oroya have been suffering for more than a decade.
The case of La Oroya was the first to demonstrate the serious problem of heavy metal pollution in Peru and the first to be brought before an international mechanism. Seeing as instances of heavy metal pollution have increased in the country due to mining and oil activities, the resolution of the case of La Oroya in favor of the affected people is vital to promoting a comprehensive public policy on the subject, which should be adequately implemented in compliance with Peru's international human rights obligations.
That is why, together, AIDA and the Association for Human Rights (APRODEH)—which legally represent the affected people—as well as the National Platform of People Affected by Metals, Metalloids and Other Toxic Chemicals and the Technical Board on Human and Environmental Health, reiterate the community's request for justice through two accompanying letters, also addressed to the Commission.
Letter from the affected residents of La Oroya
"Today we know that our body is contaminated, but we don't know what the adequate treatment is for its recovery, despite daily suffering...
Our case demonstrates the problem of heavy metal contamination that has been manifested across the country, in the face of which a prompt and adequate response from the Commission would not only contribute to positively transforming our realities and guaranteeing our rights, but would also allow for new paths toward justice and environmental health for the thousands of people currently affected by toxic metals in Peru..."
"... it's important to reiterate that case of La Oroya not only constitutes, in itself, an urgent and relevant case for the petitioners and for the mandate of the Commission, it is also an emblematic and strategic case in the context of Peru. A pronouncement from the Commission in the case of La Oroya, which would obligate the Peruvian government and send the case before the Inter-American Court, could create an important antecedent and provide guidelines for Peruvian cause, contributing to the guarantee of rights for various communities throughout the country, which have been grouped together in the National Platform of People Affected by Heavy Metals in Peru. Together, their main demands are the creation of a public policy for those affected by heavy metals, and the created of a multi-sectorial commission to bring attention to the problem..."
Letter from the National Platform of People Affected by Heavy Metals and the Technical Board on Human and Environmental Health
"A timely statement from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the Merit Report of the case of La Oroya would contribute to granting justice to dozens of families in that community who, over the past decade, have dedicated much of their lives to the defense of their health and of a healthy environment. It would also serve as an important antecedent for the Peruvian State to stop diluting the management of this situation and to implement the measures needed to attend to the environmental and public health problem associated with heavy metal pollution and, in this way, advance in compliance with its international human rights obligations..."