Letter to “UN Committee on the Rights of the Child”

Dear UN Committee on the Rights of the Child,

On behalf of The Foundation for a Clean Environment on Curaçao (SMOC) I like to inform you with this e-mail, nothing more, nothing less.

Curaçao is a tropical island that is part of the Dutch Kingdom. Curaçao has a lot of advantages for tourists like sun and coral reefs. Unfortunately, there is also an oil-refinery. This refinery emits tons of toxic compounds that are inhaled by the people living in the neighborhood of this refinery, including some 6.000 children and 19 schools. Due to the trade-wind, the people in this (poorest) neighborhoods inhale these toxic compounds every day and every night of the year, and have been doing this for their whole life (the refinery started operating in 1918) . Eco-RYS, a renowned Dutch research agency, conducted research to quantify the polluting activities of this refinery. For clearness’s sake, Eco-RYS did this research on request of the Curaçao government. This research elucidated that the polluting activities cause premature death to at least 18 people per year. Beside these premature deaths, thousands of people suffer several severe health complaints (an investigation by the government in 2007 showed that 85% of the people have complaints and want to visit a doctor, want to move away and are afraid). SMOC fights against the refinery and government who tolerates this pollution (no enforcement of the permits at all) and went to court many times, with success. We won many cases! The judge passed sentence on this polluting activities with reference to human rights, e.g. Convention on the Rights of the Child (Art. 24). The judge decided what we have been thinking for many years: children rights are under pressure, and violated, because the children simply do not have a clean environment in which they can live and go to school. Schools that are evacuated many times a year, leaving thousands of children without a proper place for education. A bloody shame that needs international attention.

I am looking forward to your answer.

Yours sincerely,

Arjan Linthorst (Board member and chemical advisor of SMOC)

Please visit our website: www.stichtingsmoc.org and facebook smoccuracao

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