DEMAND FOR INFORMATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE
RIGHT OF CITIZENS TO A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT
December 15, 2004
To: Paulo Campelli
Karachaganak Petroleum Operating, B.V.
From: Residents of the village of Berezovka
Western Kazakhstan Oblast
Summary of the Situation
On December 1-2, 2004, the residents of Berezovka witnessed the emission of unusually powerful toxic substances from the Karachaganak Field into the atmosphere. The emissions were accompanied by a forceful rumbling sound and the sharp intensification of foreign odors on the territory of the village of Berezovka from the gases discharged at the Field.
Dear Mr. Campelli,
We request that you require the appropriate department at Karachaganak Petroleum Operating, B.V. to provide us with the following information:
The volume and types (chemical characteristics) of emissions produced on November 30 and December 1-3, 2004 (individual information for each day).
a) is of public interest; and
b) affects our rights and interests.
Our right to receive the information requested is guaranteed by the following legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
I. Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan (August 30, 1995)
1. The state shall set an objective to protect the environment favorable for the life and health of the person.
2. Officials shall be held accountable for the concealment of facts and circumstances endangering the life and health of the people in accordance with the law.
3. State bodies, public associations, officials, and the mass media must provide every citizen with the possibility to obtain access to documents, decisions and other sources of information concerning his rights and interests.
2. Everyone shall have the right to freely receive and disseminate information by any means not prohibited by law. The list of items constituting state secrets of the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be determined by law.
1. Citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan shall have the right to participate in the government of the state’s affairs directly and through their representatives, to address personally as well as to direct individual and collective appeals to public and local self-administrative bodies.
I. Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, having the force of law, “On the Procedure for Considering Appeals from Citizens,” (June 19, 1995)
ARTICLE 2. The Concept of Primary Forms of Appeal
In the present Decree, the concept used signifies the following:
5. Inquiry – an appeal expressing a citizen’s need to receive information on questions of interest, of either a private or public nature.
II. Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan, “On Environmental Protection” (July 15, 1997)
Chapter II. RULES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF CITIZENS AND PUBLIC ASSOCIATIONS IN THE FIELD OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Nature and its riches are the natural foundation of the life and activity of the people of Kazakhstan, their social and economic development and promotion of their prosperity. This document determines legal, economic, and social foundations of the protection of the environment in the use of present and future generations, and is directed to provide ecological security, protection from harmful influences of economic and other activities on natural ecological systems, protect biological diversity and organize the rational use of nature.
ARTICLE 3. The main principles of the protection of the environment
Protection of the environment is realized in accordance with the following principles:
- The protection of the life and health of people, preservation and reproduction of the environment favorable for the life, work and recreation of the people;
- Maintenance of ecological security and reconstruction of destroyed natural ecological systems in territories with unfavorable ecological conditions;
- National regulation and national control requiring responsibility/compensation for the violation of the Legislation on the protection of the environment;
- Active and democratic participation of the population, public organizations and local governments in questions on the protection of the environment according to International Law.
ARTICLE 5. Rules and Duties of Citizens in the Area of the Protection of the Environment
1. Every citizen, people without the citizenship, and foreigners who are living or located in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan have the right to environmental conditions favorable for their lives and health, accurate information about its condition and the right to participate in actions for its improvement, compensation for damages done to their health or property, which have occurred as a result of a violation of the Legislation on the protection of the environment.
ARTICLE 6. Rules and Duties of Organizations in the Area of Protection of the Environment
1. Public organizations, during their work in the area of the protection of the environment have the right:
To receive full and accurate information from the government about the conditions of the environment and conduct actions to improve it.
III. Law on the Sanitary-Epidemiological Wellbeing of the Population (July 8, 1994)
ARTICLE 6. Responsibilities of Central and Local Government Organs to Ensure Citizens’ Rights
Central and local government organs and officials have an obligation to provide citizens, public associations and organizations with information about the sanitary-epidemiological environment.
IV. Citizens’ Judiciary of the Republic of Kazakhstan
ARTICLE 8. Judicial Protection of the Right to Freedom and Legal Interests of Individuals
1. Everyone, regardless of citizenship, has the right, in accordance with this Codex, to appeal to the court to defend the constitutional right to freedom, if it is violated or challenged, and to protect legal interests. Government organs, legal entities or citizens have the right to appeal to the court with statements on the protection of rights and legal interests of others or undefined circles of individuals in the event of a violation of the reviewed legislation.
We request that you deliver this information directly to S.Ya. Anosova, representative of the village of Berezovka’s initiative group.
In the event that you refuse to provide this information, we ask that you provide us with a written explanation, which we will utilize in court to appeal your actions.
Signed by 19 residents of the village of Berezovka.