Human Rights Problems in Berezovka, Kazakhstan are Raised within the Walls of the UN

The first Global Forum of the UN on Business and Human Rights was held in Geneva, Switzerland on December 4-5, 2012. Around 1000 participants representing 85 countries, 150 companies and 170 nongovernmental organizations participated in the discussion about the influence of business on human rights and possible use among businesses of the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights.

One of the examples of the negative impact of business on human rights presented at the meeting was the case of the village of Berezovka in Western Kazakhstan. Its residents have been fighting for relocation from the area of influence of the Karachaganak Oil and Gas Condensate Field, which is being developed by the international consortium, Karachaganak Petroleum Operating, BV. The villagers are impacted by emissions from Karachaganak, and almost 50 percent of the population suffers from chronic illness. The case of Berezovka was raised by Sergey Solyanik, consultant to Crude Accountability, a US nonprofit organization that works closely with the residents of the village.

“In Kazakhstan, companies relate to human rights the same way the government does. A clear example is the situation around the village of Berezovka. On the one hand, the consortium writes in its colorful reports about supporting the principles of human rights protections in its sphere of influence…and continues to pollute the environment and the local residents around Karachaganak. On the other hand, for two years the local authorities have failed to implement the decision of the Astana court to relocate and pay compensation to the Berezovka villagers who live inside the oil and gas field’s zone of influence. Even the recent election of Kazakhstan to the UN Council for Human Rights is not stimulus enough for local bureaucrats, never mind the decision of the court,” said Sergey Solyanik at the forum.

We remind the reader of the decision of the Specialized Inter-regional Economic Court of Astana from June 1, 2010, which recognized the right to relocation and payment of compensation to two Berezovka families who live inside the oil and gas field’s sanitary protection zone. This decision is a victory for the local residents and the Ecological Society “Green Salvation,” of Almaty, which has provided legal assistance to the villagers.

The residents of Berezovka, Crude Accountability and Green Salvation continue to seek justice at all levels inside the country and internationally.

Additional information can be found on the following websites:

https://crudeaccountability.org/ru/index.php?page=karachaganak
http://www.greensalvation.org/index.php?page=berezovka
http://www.ohchr.org/ru/Issues/Business/Pages/ForumonBusinessandHR2012.aspx

Crude Press Release
December 14, 2012
Contact:
Sergey Solyanik +7-777-7011276, <ss_grs@nullyahoo.com>