The particular applicants allege that Anglo American South Africa, through the prior involvement in the routines of the local lead mine in Kabwe, assumed the duty of care toward residents, especially protection against lead exposure. The UN experts – whose mandates include issues such as toxic pollution and human rights, business and human rights, and discrimination against women and ladies – had sought to intervene in the case.
Duty of care
Furthermore, the World Health Business ( WHO ) has identified this as certainly one of 10 chemicals of major public health concern, needing action simply by countries to protect the health of workers, children and women associated with reproductive age. “According to the WHO, there is no level of publicity to direct that is known to be without harmful effects, ” they added. The Court will think about arguments based on international human being rights law, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Individual Rights , said professionals.
‘Profound’ health effects
The Southern Gauteng High Court within Johannesburg will this week listen to arguments on whether the value of the damages claim with the victims can be considered. The 13 experts were appointed from the UN Individual Rights Council in Geneva and assist in their individual capacities. The lawsuit against mining giant Anglo American was filed for women and children in Zambia’s central Kabwe District, who are the alleged victims associated with lead poisoning.
Contrary to commitment
“Young children can suffer profound and permanent adverse health effects and disabilities , including in the development of the brain and the nervous program. Pregnant women’s exposure to business lead can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature birth and low birth bodyweight . ” The guidelines commit businesses to respect human legal rights, whilst addressing the undesirable human rights impacts associated with business activity with which these are involved. Professionals argued that Anglo American was acting contrary to the professed commitments to individual rights in business when it opposes the Court even contemplating this class action. “Lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems and is especially harmful to young children , ” the UN experts mentioned. They are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They also emphasize the importance of access to remedies in the event of violations. “Anglo American South Africa has voluntarily committed by itself to follow the Guiding Concepts, including the commitment to support entry to justice where human rights impacts have occurred and also to co-operate in processes designed to establish whether there is culpability for those impacts, ” someone said.