Habi calls on cement multinationals to end rights violations and adhere to local and international law

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Habi Center for Enviromental Rights has released a statement calling on cement multinational companies to end practices that violate the law. Nine NGOs have pledged solidarity with the demands. Habi has documented how cement companies, including multinationals, have pressured officials to use coal (the most harmful fuel) instead of gas in order to double their profits. In addition, Habi asserts that companies continue to violate the environmental rights of citizens in complete disregard for local environmental laws, international human rights charters and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Habi has accessed minutes and reports of the Environmental Affairs Agency documenting violations committed by companies such as Lafarge and Suez Cement Company as a result of a failure to conduct an environmental impact assessment of the switch to coal, the mismanagement of dangerous dumps and the release of excessive levels of pollutants from their smokestacks. In sum, there is documentation indicating many criminal charges against these companies.

These companies are violating the environmental rights of citizens, especially the right to health and a healthy environment, as well as the right to information and participation.

In response to these violations, Habi send the following list of demands to these companies on Wednesday, September 3, 2015:

  • To adhere to local environmental legislations and relevant international charters.
  • To publish environmental impact assessments, or summaries of these studies, regarding all changes made by these companies in relation to the use of coal instead of gas.
  • To publish the minutes of hearings concerning environmental impact assessment studies on the company website, especially those regarding the use of coal as an alternative to gas.
  • To considering transparency rules that require violations committed by the company to be published on its website, as well as subsequent plans to avoid committing these violations in future, in accordance with international human rights charters and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. 

The nine NGOs that have pledged solidarity with Habi by signing the demands are:

  1. The Egyptian Foundation for the Advancement of the Childhood Condition "The Egyptian Coalition on Children's Rights".
  2. The New Woman Foundation.
  3. Center for Egyptian Women Legal Assistance (CEWLA).
  4. Specific Union for Environment in Aswan.
  5. Association of Canal People.
  6. Egyptian Against Religious Discrimination.
  7. Earth Center for Human Rights.
  8. The Egyptian Association for Social and Economic Rights.
  9. Group of Legal Assistance for Human Rights.   

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