Last month, victims of the Mariana dam disaster travelled from Brazil to the UK to continue to share how they were affected by the actions of BHP in Brazil’s worst ever environmental disaster.
During the visit, BHP was in court against co-owners Vale, trying to shirk their responsibility over the Mariana dam disaster. As BHP attempted to shift the blame, members of the indigenous communities protested outside.
Members of indigenous communities affected by the disaster gathered outside the High Court in London, holding signs asking for justice and singing a song for their sacred river, which was integral to their everyday lives before it was polluted with toxic mud.
“It’s very hard to sing this song nowadays because there’s nothing there anymore,”
Dirlene Krenak, a member of the Krenak indigenous community affected by the disaster, said: “It was where we got our food from, it’s where we baptised our children, it’s our place of recreation, and we’re never going to get that back.” –
Felipe Hotta, a Partner at Pogust Goodhead working on the case, explained how very little compensation has been granted to victims in Brazil, and it’s time that this changed.
“Our clients are tired; they just want to move on with their lives,” he said.
“It’s not even about the money itself for most of them. They just want to put an end to this and move on.”
Throughout the week, members of The Krenaks, The Pataxós, The Guaranis, The Tupiniquins, and The Quilombolas indigenous communities met with NGOs and shared their stories with journalists, where they called on BHP to finally do the right thing.
The group also delivered a letter to Downing Street asking for support from the UK government.
“We came here to ask for justice because we trust the justice system here. In Brazil, we haven’t been compensated. We haven’t received anything. We haven’t even received the land to be resettled.”
The significant visit was featured in a range of prestigious press outlets, including: