Activists commemorate 272 people killed in Brumadinho dam collapse in die-in
January 26th, 2023
by Justice is Everybody's Business
  • Mud covered, hazmat suit wearing campaigners commemorated the fourth anniversary of the disaster
  • European Parliament turned into a place of commemoration as part of a European campaign calling for corporate accountability.
  • Corporate due diligence legislation passing through EU Parliament in February

Yesterday, activists staged a die-in in front of the European Parliament at Place du Luxembourg in Brussels to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Brumadinho dam collapse in Brazil which saw 272 people lose their lives due to corporate negligence. 

In a striking visual display, activists wearing hazmat suits covered in mud, held candles and signs calling for “Justice for Brumadinho. Rules for Business”. Brazillian activist Marcia Guerra Capanema and European campaigner Sylvia Obregon Quiroz called for justice in an impactful speech.

The stunt is part of Justice is Everybody’s Business, a European-wide campaign calling for an EU law that holds businesses accountable for human rights violations, wrecking the climate and destroying the environment. It followed six European Parliament committee votes on the EU’s corporate sustainability law proposal last Tuesday and Wednesday.

Anya VerKamp, Campaign Coordinator for Justice Is Everybody’s Business said: When the German auditor TÜV SÜD certified the mining-waste dam at Brumadinho as ‘safe’, they were committing gross negligence to secure their place in the Brazilian mining sector. The EU needs to oblige corporations to root-out this kind of thinking with strong consequences for corporations.

Last year, the European Commission released its proposal for a law on corporate sustainability due diligence to oblige large companies in the bloc to risk-assess their global value chains for human rights and environmental issues, and to compensate injured parties.

According to a YouGov poll, over 80 percent of citizens from across multiple EU countries want strong laws to hold companies liable for overseas violations.

Stunt by Justice is Everybody’s Business in front of the EU Parliament on January 25, 2023. Photo by Philip Reynaers / Photonews.
Brumadinho dam tragedy

In January 2019, a dam burst at an iron ore mine near the small Brazilian town of Brumadinho, killing 272 people. Toxic sludge contaminated large sections of the Paraopeba River, poisoning the drinking water of thousands of people. Only four months earlier, the Brazilian subsidiary of German certifier TÜV SÜD confirmed the dam’s safety and did not prevent its subsidiary from issuing the required dam stability declaration, despite known safety risks. This disaster continues to serve as a tragic example of the consequences of a system that puts corporate profits ahead of people and the environment. 

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To the European Commission, Parliament and the Council


We demand a due diligence law that:

  1. Makes companies respect human rights, the environment and the climate.
  2. Puts strict, no-nonsense obligations on companies to prevent and end harm.
  3. Holds parent companies responsible in court for harm that happens anywhere in their supply chain. No loopholes!
  4. Guarantees collective bargaining by trade unions and gives workers’ representatives a real say in due diligence, every step of the way.
  5. Tackles the climate crisis by making companies slash emissions throughout their value chains.
  6. Protects the planet by holding companies accountable for all possible harms to the environment.
  7. Applies due diligence requirements to all business relationships along their value chains.
  8. Empowers people harmed by bad business practices, trade unions, and civil society to get justice in EU courts.
  9. Consults everyone who is, or may be affected by business activities, and obtains consent when needed.
  10. Gives enforcement agencies the power to thoroughly investigate and sanction companies.
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