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Climate Change? Greenhouse gases? Add to it toxic waste dumping by Australian miners

Australian, Canadian and US mining companies that persist in dumping billions of tonnes of toxic heavy metals such as mercury and lead into the rivers and oceans of some of the world’s poorest countries are causing irreversible environmental damage as well as driving human poverty. This warning by a coalition of human rights groups and mining watchdogs as mining ministers from the Asia-Pacific gather in Perth this week for a summit.

Ban toxic mine dumping, urges open letter to mining sector in The Australian

Call for an immediate ban on the practice of dumping billions of tonnes of toxic mine waste into rivers and oceans. That’s the clarion message 27 international human rights groups, mining watchdogs, unions and Indigenous people’s organisations voiced in an open letter to the mining sector in today’s The Australian newspaper.

Not in anyone’s backyard

On a typically steamy day in Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby, the Australian manager of one of the country’s gold mines said, ‘We don’t have a social responsibility program because we didn’t think we’d be operating more than two years.’ Ten years after mining began and with plans to expand production, the Australian-owned mine still has no intention of ending the practice of dumping more than 140,000 tonnes of toxic waste such as lead and mercury into the local river system each and every year. In fact, the company has no plans whatsoever to minimise the social and environmental impacts of its operations. Meanwhile, downstream, out of sight and out of mind, vulnerable people who rely on the river for drinking, fishing and washing as well as land cultivation find themselves at the pointy end of the senseless and selfish actions of a multibillion dollar Australian mining operation. The company however cannot plead ignorance. Neither is it oblivious to the harm it’s caused ‘ local people have complained bitterly on several occasions about the irreversible environmental and social damage caused by the mine.

Oxfam: Meaningful Farm Bill reform crucial for a pro-development round

International agency Oxfam welcomed the Bush Administration’s proposal to reform the 2002 Farm Bill as a first step toward unlocking the paralysis in multilateral trade negotiations. However, the organisation cautioned that it is still unclear if the proposal will significantly reduce export dumping or signify a meaningful shift in the American position at the WTO. Importantly, there is no guarantee that the US Congress will adopt the proposal.

It’s time to close the gap – demand health equality for Indigenous Australians

Forty-years ago 90 per cent of Australia voted to give Aboriginal Australians equal rights ‘ equal rights as citizens of Australia to help redress the ‘White Australia’ policy as well as to right wrongs experienced by Indigenous Australians. It was heralded as a watershed moment in Australian history ‘ 200 years after the first Britains settled and claimed the land for themselves, Indigenous Australians were to be recognised as equals.

JOINT AGENCIES RELEASE – Humanitarian agencies warn Darfur operations approaching breaking point

Leading Australian aid agencies today warned the enormous humanitarian response in Darfur will soon be paralysed unless African and global leaders at the African Union (AU) Summit take urgent action to end rising violence against civilians and aid workers. They said African Heads of States and new UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will fail the people of Darfur if they do not take concrete steps to herald the start of a new chapter in the region and ensure an immediate ceasefire is both agreed and adhered to.

Somali organisations report of bombings targeting innocent civilians

Oxfam is receiving reports from its partner organisations in Somalia that nomadic herdsmen have been hit in recent bombing raids. According to the reports from local organisations in Afmadow district, bombs have hit vital water sources as well as large groups of nomads and their animals who had gathered around large fires at night to ward off mosquitoes.

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