Due to the efforts that counted with MAB’s participation, the Minas Gerais Public Prosecutor’s Office withdrew Vale from the process of registering and collecting data about people affected by the failed dam. In the crime of the Fundão’s dam, the mining company used this type of registration – made by the company itself – as a proof against the families.
A joint effort of the Minas Gerais Public Prosecutor’s Office [Ministério Público do estado de Minas Gerais], Federal Public Defender’s Office [Defensoria Pública da União], Public Defender’s Office of Minas Gerais [Defensoria Pública do Estado de Minas Gerais], and other institutions of the Crisis Cabinet, as well as the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), won a significant victory in the struggle to guarantee the rights of victims of the Córrego do Feijão’s mine dam that failed in Brumadinho.
Since this criminal event, Vale has begun to register families affected by the sludge. In the document, material goods and other losses due to the crime should already be listed by people affected. The registration was being carried out by Sinergia, the same company responsible for this very same procedure of registration of people affected in Mariana and Doce River more than three years ago, acting historically in association with Vale.
MAB denounced this situation to [legal] institutions. ‘Our concern is that this information will be used against the families themselves, because people are in shock and unable to measure the material losses they have just had and will still have in a short term due to the collapse of the dam. This was the situation we are living through in the case of Samarco in the Doce River’, explains Pablo Dias, member of the movements’ coordination.
MAB also denounces that in addition to using the information against those affected, Vale also kept these data confidential for a long period of time: ‘It’s what we learnt from Mariana’s case. We were able to intervene, modify and ensure that emergency issues were efficiently met and at the same time ensure that future compensations are not hampered by a poorly applied registration’, Dias says.
In the Parque das Cachoeiras, a district that belongs to Brumadinho’s municipality and was also affected by the crime, residents refused to fill out the document handed by Vale-Sinergia.
The minutes of the meeting include the following:
5. Regarding the registration and service, the initial survey must be done through the Emergency Form, immediately interrupting any registration procedures being carried out by Vale, as they may lead to serious violations of human rights at this time;
6. That no service is conditioned to completion of such registration, risking setting up grounds for violations of people’s rights. The emergency assistance should be performed, in this first moment, moving away Sinergia’s registration team; VALE’s spokesman requested it to be stated in this report that Sinergia will be immediately removed and that the Emergency Form mentioned in item 5 will be used; He also recorded that VALE S.A. agrees with these requests.
From now on, an emergency survey of the families that were affected by the collapse of the dam will be conducted without measuring losses and material damages. The collection of this information will be done by a public institution that will also produce a database about those affected.
MAB reiterates that this registration has to be built with those affected, thinking of a dynamic and well-constructed methodology and questionnaire, in order to really size the damage and not making a targeted survey, commonly used among mining companies and which was applied in Mariana. In addition to the change in the families registration process, this joint effort also secured other important achievements for those affected such as: to secure the transportation of families, including to other municipalities, to the various institutions and localities involved in the crime, such as IML [Instituto Médico Legal – Brazilian Institute of Forensic Medicine] and Acadepol [Academia de Polícia Civil de Minas Gerais – Civil Police Academy]; guarantee of permanent supply of good quality food; expansion of psychosocial care coverage; guarantee of funeral services, among other rights.
MAB is proposing that the emergency form to be undertaken urgently and as soon as possible. ‘We are on January 29th and soon it will be February 5th. Families will miss their bills’ due dates and will not be able to sustain themselves. The MAB defends the payment of emergency aid by deposit to all displaced families that had their income impacted by the failed dam. This is urgent. That is what the form should be used for, to give emergency aid and temporary rent’, Dias says.