Human Rights

The entire nuclear fuel chain involves the release of radioactivity, contamination of the environment and damage to human health. Most often, communities of color, indigenous peoples or those of low-income are targeted to bear the brunt of these impacts, particularly the damaging health and environmental effects of uranium mining. The nuclear power industry inevitably violates human rights.



Photos from the Nuclear-Free Future Awards, New York, September 30

© orla connolly. Top to bottom: singer Pete Seeger; presenter Amy Goodman with NFFA founder Claus Biegert; presenter and singer Patti Smith; winners Hilma Mote, Henry Red Cloud. (Other winners: Oleg Bodrov, Bruno Barrillot).


International physicians group calls for ban on uranium mining

The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) adopted a resolution at its International Council meeting on Sunday in Basel, Switzerland, calling for a ban on uranium mining and the production of yellowcake (uranium oxide). The resolution described both processes as “irresponsible” and “a grave threat to health and to the environment”.

The resolution also describes uranium mining and yellowcake production as a “violation of human rights”. The right to life, liberty and security, to physical integrity, self-determination, the protection of human dignity, the right to clean water are just some of the rights that are afflicted by uranium mining and its processes, say the doctors.

The resolution follows on from a conference entitled “Sacred Lands, Poisoned People” held on August 26th, also in Basel, on uranium mining in which Beyond Nuclear's Linda Gunter participated. Activists from all of the major mining regions around the world (including Manuel Pino from Acoma Pueblo, pictured), many of them representing indigenous peoples, gathered together and exchanged information collated on health effects and damage to the environment. The group issued a call for the ban in a joint statement at the conclusion of their talks. As a result of this data, representatives from the German and Swiss IPPNW affiliates submitted a resolution calling for a ban to the bi-annual meeting of the international IPPNW federation.


Quebec mining opponents camped out at national assembly

Quebec residents concerned about mining exploration have set up a mock camp in front of the national assembly, where hearings on amending the province's natural resources laws are underway this week. The coalition is demanding Quebec's Liberal government amend its mining law to exclude all urban and residential areas from potential exploration. In Sept-Îles, Terra Ventures has a temporary exploration permit to drill for uranium, a radioactive heavy metal used in nuclear power facilities. (Photo: CMDN).


Traditional owners fight Australian nuclear dump

Traditional owners of Muckaty Station in Australia will fight a nuke dump on their land claiming that they were not properly consulted about the dump and that the government decision to construct it is void. See the story.


3rd Annual Protect the Earth Great Lakes Community Gathering, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, July 30-August 1

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps helped lead the nuclear power and uranium mining workshops at the 1st (2008) and 2nd (2009) annual "Protect the Earth" gatherings held at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. These events were devoted to stopping metallic sulfide and uranium mining throughout Michigan's Upper Peninsula, particularly at the sacred Ojibwe "Eagle Rock" site on the Yellow Dog Plains near Lake Superior. Save the Wild U.P., one of the annual gathering's sponsors, has an excellent map showing the location of this Kennecot "Eagle Project," numerous other metallic sulfide mining proposals, and three known uranium mining proposals. Uranium mining is unprecedented in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, although it has already devastated Ojibwe lands at Elliot Lake, Ontario to the east, as described in the book of Serpent River First Nation testimonials edited by Lorraine Rekmans and Anabel Dwyer, and as depicted in an iconic photo by Robert Del Tredichi showing a wall of uranium tailings, visible behind the trees -- radioactive waste from the Stanrock mill near Elliot Lake, Ontario.

At the June 2010 Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Wisconsin, Kevin also met with Gabriel Caplett and Teresa Bertossi, editors of Headwaters: Citizen Journalism for the Great Lakes. Along with youth from the Keewenaw Bay Indian Community who had recently been arrested trying to defend Eagle Rock from bulldozers, Gabriel and Teresa gave an emergency presentation at Wisconsin's Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free networking caucus about the imminent mining threat at the sacred site. Hence the urgency of this year's 3rd annual Protect the Earth Great Lakes Community Gathering.

Check out this year's beautiful poster. This year's event will feature Ojibwe environmental justice activist Winona "No Nukes" LaDuke as keynote speaker, and renowned Native American musician Joanne Shenandoah. See the text of the email announcement just sent to Beyond Nuclear here.