Activists Call for Justice for Victims of Formosa Plastics Disaster as President Biden Visits Vietnam
WASHINGTON – Ahead of President Biden’s visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, members of the International Monitor Formosa Alliance sent a letter to the administration regarding a lack of restitution for victims of the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel plant environmental disaster. In 2016, the Formosa Plastics Group-owned plant released a substantive amount of toxic chemicals into the sea, causing severe marine life casualties and devasting the livelihoods of over four million Vietnamese residents. Formosa Plastics paid $500 million in compensation directly to the Vietnamese government – yet the victims themselves have not received this compensation.
Since the disaster, fishermen who attempted to call for action have been imprisoned and journalists advocating on behalf of victims have been detained. In June 2019, nearly 8,000 victims filed a suit against Formosa Plastics Group, and the legal process is ongoing.
“Formosa Plastics and the Vietnamese government have sidestepped accountability for too long,” says Paloma Henriques, Senior Petrochemical Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, “President Biden has the opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to environmental justice by advocating on behalf of the victims of this ecological and human rights disaster. We call on the Biden Administration to pursue an independent inquiry to ensure pollution has ceased, a comprehensive cleanup has occurred, and livelihoods are restored. We also urge them to pressure the Vietnamese government to compensate victims and release political prisoners jailed for standing up for their communities.”
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