Appeal Regarding the Emergency Situation in the Village of Berezovka to:
The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Commissioner for Human Rights under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Commission for Human Rights under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Committee for Agriculture, Natural Resource Use and Development of Agricultural Territory of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Committee on Environment and Natural Resource Use of the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan
The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan
The Akimat of Western Kazakhstan Oblast
Karachaganak Petroleum Operating, B.V.
The Department for Emergency Situations of Western Kazakhstan Oblast
Department of Health Protection of Western Kazakhstan Oblast
Department of Natural Resources and Natural Resource Use of Western Kazakhstan Oblast
Department of Consumer Protection of Western Kazakhstan Oblast
Department of Education of Western Kazakhstan Oblast
December 2, 2014
On November 28, 2014, 19 children and three adults fainted in the Berezovka village school in Burlin district of Western Kazakhstan Oblast, and were taken to the Burlin district hospital. On November 29th, six children were transferred to the regional clinical hospital.
On November 29th during a public meeting with the residents of the village, the deputy head of the regional health department, M. Aimurzieva, stated, “Preliminary results indicated that an unknown toxic substance impacted the central nervous system [of the hospitalized villagers].”
The village of Berezovka is located not far from the Karachaganak oil and gas condensate field of the international consortium, Karachaganak Petroleum Operating, B.V. (KPO), which is one of the most dangerous industrial enterprises in Kazakhstan. KPO’s sanitary protection zone crosses the northern edge of the village. The situation with the borderline and the village has been the formal basis for refusal to relocate the villagers to a safe location. Numerous factual documents demonstrate that the placement of the minimal five-kilometer sanitary protection zone is not enough to ensure the environmental safety of the residents.
Since 2002, the residents of Berezovka, on their own and with the help of human rights organizations, have repeatedly appealed to the responsible government bodies and to the Karachaganak Petroleum Operating, B.V. consortium with requests to relocate the village from this dangerous area. Their appeals have had no effect, regardless of the fact that more and more data have appeared about the growing threats to the health and lives of the residents. In 2010 the villagers appealed to the courts; the court determined that the sanitary protection zone had been illegally reduced. The residents of Berezovka appealed to state bodies numerous times about accidental emissions into the atmosphere, which negatively impacted the residents, and about illnesses among children. In 2011 the residents began to worry about the appearance of sinkholes in the village and surrounding areas.
We believe that the emergency, which took place in the village of Berezovka on November 28, 2014, is not a surprise. It is the logical result of unscrupulous fulfillment of responsibilities by state bodies and the result of violations of environmental and industrial safety standards by the consortium, Karachaganak Petroleum Operating, B.V. This led to further violations of the human right to a clean and healthy environment, which is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the environmental code and in international agreements ratified by the country. Furthermore, the residents of the village are exposed to discrimination on the basis of where they live, and their social status and wealth.
Based on the above statements, we fully support the demands of the residents of the village to be relocated to safe location.
– the provision of complete, accurate information about all types of work carried out by KPO in the sanitary protection zone, and data on industrial monitoring for the past two years;
– the provision of complete, accurate medical information on the reasons for the poisoning of the residents of the village;
– the provision of independent research into the reasons for the poisoning with the involvement of all responsible bodies and the prosecutor’s office;
– full, transparent research and provision of all results to the residents of the village, the public, and the media.
We demand an end to the human rights violations and discrimination against the residents of the village of Berezovka.
We demand the rapid relocation of the residents of Berezovka.
We request that you send your responses to:
- Sergey Kuratov, Chairman, Ecological Society Green Salvation, 050000, Republic of Kazakhstan, Almaty, Ul. Shagabutdinova, 58, Apt. 28
- Kate Watters, Executive Director, Crude Accountability, P.O. Box 2345, Alexandria, VA 22301, USA;
- Svetlana Anosova, Chairwoman, Zhasil Dala, Republic of Kazakhstan, Western Kazakhstan Region, Burlin District, Berezovka, Ul. Dostyk 7
- Lukpan Akhmediarov, Editor, Uralsk Weekly, 090000, Republic of Kazakhsatn, Western Kazakhstan Region, Uralsk, Ul. Kerderi 138.
- Roza Akylbekova, Director, Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, 050035, Republic of Kazakhstan, Almaty, Microregion 8, d.4-a, office 423
- Elvira Batlina, Working Group of NGOs of Kazakhstan, For the Defense of the Rights of Children”