Members of the LUSUD association killed in Madagascar
The FLT has learned of the tragic death of three people fighting against the attacks on their land and their health in Madagascar. They were members of the LUSUD association, set up in 2023 to combat the environmental and health damage caused by the RIO TINTO QMM mining company in Tolagnaro-Fort-Dauphin, Madagascar. For over 10 years, the company has been pouring its untreated wastewater into rivers and lakes whose water is used daily by the population, including for drinking. Experts report high levels of aluminum, uranium and cadmium, as well as radioactive elements. In response to this threat to their lives, local residents have staged a number of blockades and demonstrations. In January 2023, an agreement on compensation and financial indemnification was signed between the mining company and 5,511 fishermen and usufructuaries. A large number of local residents denounced the compensation as being far below the losses and damage suffered, particularly in terms of the environment and health. The company emphasizes its innocence and the fact that it directly employs 2,000 people. In March 2022, dozens of fish were found dead on the surface of the weir, and the Minister for Water denounced the company's responsibility. The fight then intensified even further.
This rejection of the agreement led to the creation of the LUSUD association, which is calling for the suspension of the company's socio-environmental permit and operating license. It has filed a petition with the government, signed by more than 15,000 local residents, listing the serious environmental and human rights violations committed by the company. As Laurent Manjary, the association's general secretary, summed up, "We cannot exchange our lives for money".
This citizens' association has been severely repressed, with over 100 demonstrators arrested in July and some given suspended prison sentences of several months, without receiving any response from the government or regional authorities. On October 20, the demonstrators identified a policeman in civilian clothes who had infiltrated the association's members gathered in a private estate on the road leading to the RIO TINTO QMM site, and refused, in the face of some of his colleagues, to let him leave without explaining his presence among the members and the lack of response to their demands. The police then fired live ammunition. Mr. DAMY and Ms. RASOLONIRINA Françia died as a result, while the association's spokesman, Mr. ANDRIAMAMONJY, was arrested and ordered to crawl on the asphalt before being taken to the military hospital in the late afternoon, where he died during the night. Several people were also injured. Five people were arrested.
We join the Collectif TANY in calling for justice for the victims of this violence, for those responsible at various levels to be held to account, and for the demands of the demonstrators to be met.
L' express de Madagascar: ANOSY -an association demands suspension of QMM's operating license (by Miangaly Ralitera, April 17, 2023)
Midi-Madagascar: QMM: Arrest warrants for two LUSUD executives (July 4, 2023)
http://agter.asso.fr/article1334_fr.html (et l’ensemble des articles consacrés à Madagascar)