In this article, human rights activist Golden Misabiko writes about the uranium mining in africa.
URANIUM MINING IN AFRICA
Nuclear Energy Threats
French nuclear group AREVA in Africa (Niger, Gabon, Congo DRC, South Africa, Namibia…) Danger for Africa and for the world.
In the Universal efforts to fight against Uranium programs in Africa, it is urgent to both learn the Fukushima lesson and to urge AREVA to stop its programs and projects in Congo DRC and in Africa.
A. LESSON FROM FUKUSHIMA
The world has been watching, with compassion and fear, the unimaginable catastrophic events that have struck Japan, destroying all, including tens of thousands of human lives.
Many infrastructures have been washed and borne away; and damaged by the most furious natural catastrophes: earthquake and tsunami.
The earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 at 240 km north of Tokyo, have destroyed all; including the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and have damaged its reactors provoking and causing thus, contamination of water, crops, soil, air, food… at Fukushima, in several remote areas in Japan and in some neighboring countries.
These terrible natural events and nuclear disaster are reminding the origins of the uranium fuel that are used in the nuclear plants. In this universal worry and responsibility, it is urgent to remember that Africa remains one of the richest continents ( as far as natural resources are concerned ) of the world. It is here, where the numerous mine reserves are found. These are gold, diamond, copper, germanium, zinc, cobalt, coltan, uranium … and many other radioactive minerals.
Many nuclear plants in the world, undoubtedly, get much of their fuel of uranium from Africa; especially from such countries as Congo DRC, Niger, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Gabon …
The rich naturals reserves of uranium attract the multinationals in Africa where they sign cheap contracts (with no transparency, no debate in parliaments, no expertise, no tender procedure… and in total secrecy and opacity) with the African governments.
It is in this irresponsible way that the multinationals are being given the right to explore and to exploit uranium in the African countries; without any sustainable and responsible policy to protect nationals, local communities and their environments against radioactivity.
In the operations of these multinationals, there are records of no respect for human beings dignity and their environment. Water, air, crops and livestock are being contaminated, polluted and exposed to radioactivity. Women are giving birth to babies with horrible malformations as consequence of having been in contact with the radioactive elements in food, water, air… etc
Indeed, the uranium extractive/exploitation activities are endangering Africa and its population. In many reports, the Civil Society Organizations in Africa and in the world are alarming and urging the international community to take actions and to help stop the uranium irresponsible exploitation programs in the continent; with all the convincing proofs of how dangerous such activities are.
Here are some concrete examples of how Africa remains threatened by multinationals nuclear programs:
In Niger, Greenpeace and other international organizations have been reporting regularly on how AREVA, the French nuclear multinational is endangering the people and their environment; as it is spilling hundreds ( over 200,000 of cubic liters ) of radioactive wastes at the AREVA SA – SOMAIR uranium mine in the north of the country. This spill has damaged and contaminated hectares of the community lands in Arlit and Akolan. And it is poisoning air and polluting water; and affecting over 80,000 people in the area.
In this country, and in many others in Africa, people are extremely exposed to very high uranium radioactivity. They become ill; and they die; with no much information on what is happening to them.
The people in these areas are extremely poor while AREVA is making billions of dollars from their natural wealth.
In Gabon, AREVA uranium mining activities had started in 1961 and ended in 1999 because of some financial hardship. This exploitation left many workers of various nationalities, including French workers, with very serious health problems; and according to “Medecin du Monde”, World Medical Doctors, this is the consequence of the high radioactivity they were exposed to in the uranium mining at Mounana, 90 km from Franceville and 500 km from Libreville.
In Congo DRC, the exploitation of uranium has been endangering the human beings for many years. Whether artisanal, semi-industrial or industrial, the uranium mining has been destroying and exposing peoples’ lives to radioactivity; as they are not protected properly and according to the rules and norms. Because of poverty and misery, people go to mines to extract uranium ore without protection. Men, women and even children, in total ignorance, touch and carry on their heads the dangerous minerals to the buyers, who , them too, get contaminated by radioactivity because they are not protected either.
To export this rich uranium from Katanga (whether artisanal, semi-industrial or industrial) the product/ore is loaded on the trucks from the mining depots to the border, Kasumbalesa and from Kasumbalesa through Zambia; and to final chosen destinations. Most trucks have no appropriate uranium safety equipment. These trucks, full of uranium, take any possible routing (itinerary in the Southern African region) to the oceans ( Indian and Atlantic ) where they are loaded on the ships and sent to different countries in need of building nuclear plants or weapons. These uranium products leave dust and other unrecorded material radioactive elements in the air and on the roads.
Our worry and fear are justified here when the same French nuclear group AREVA ( that has been reported to be destroying peoples’ lives polluting air, drinking water and the environment in Niger and Gabon) is being given, by the Congo DRC government, the right to explore and exploit uranium on/and in all the Congolese soil. (See Agreement signed on March 26, 2009 between Congolese Mines Minister, Martin Kabwelulu and the AREVA President Madam Anne Lauvergnon during the short and quick visit on the same day and date , with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Kinshasa, Congo).
These are, indeed additional, strong and obvious threats for Africa. Before it is late, something has to be done to stop this multinational from undertaking its nuclear projects in Congo DRC. AREVA activities in Congo, will threaten and endanger the whole world.
It will destroy Congo the same way it is destroying Niger in Arlit and Akolan.
The Congo forest, which is one of the “earth’s lungs”, is going to be damaged by the nuclear/radioactivity exploitation.
The River Congo that is still the environmental and ecosystem hope and pride, will be polluted; and all the biodiversity (millions of species ) will be destroyed by AREVA.
AREVA uranium activities in Congo will affect Congo, Africa and the whole world.
The nuclear danger in Africa is a reality; whether from the mining stage (exploration, extraction or exploitation ) and sites ( Niger, Congo DRC, Gabon, Zambia, South Africa… ) or on the uranium utilization sites of nuclear plants ( South Africa, at Koeberg, near Cape Town in Westen Cape province) people’s lives are permanently in danger. Fukushima Daiichi, in Japan has just reminded the lessons that African Leaders need to learn, now. Or it will be late.
B. NO AREVA IN CONGO-KINSHASA AND, NO AREVA IN AFRICA
The general opinion is following, with fear and worry, the effects and radioactive threats extremely dangerous against humanity from nuclear programs in general, and from the French nuclear group AREVA, in Africa and in the world.
The reports from many sources, the horrifying images of AREVA activities in the world, and its irresponsible and criminal intention to explore and to exploit uranium on and in all the Congolese territory can only disturb human normal minds, to react and to alarm the opinion; not only to denounce it, but also to mobilize force and energy as to prevent, by all means, its plan and its nuclear devastating and destructive plan and program in Congo Kinshasa.
The whole world is very shocked and worried by the dangerousness of this nuclear corporate activities; and by the destroying radioactive effects ( of uranium ) that comes , mostly, from the minerals extracted in Africa for its operations ( in Africa ) and in the world. These operations are the real threats against humanity.
Indeed, the radioactivity danger has become so evident that it is no longer necessary to look for proofs. This is, and remains the threat for our country Congo Kinshasa, Africa and all our planate Earth. This danger being aggravated by an irresponsible and opaque agreement that AREVA has dared to sign with the disrespectful –for- Human -Rights Kinshasa regime. In the shameful accord, AREVA , the corporate which is known to be killing people in Africa ( Niger, Gabon…) in its uranium activities, is being given the rights to explore and exploit uranium on/in all Congo’s soil. What an irresponsible and a criminal act against humanity! And what a shame!; when it is well known that Congo is and will remain a world’s vital ecosystem value and one of the “Earth’s lungs”; for and because of its Most Unbeatable and Magnificent Congo River and its Living and Life-giving Rain Forest.
It is without fear, either for nuclear force, for financial force or for political force of this corporate in Africa, that I take, with courage and determination, my responsibilities to ask to annul, by such Declarations and Statements, any arrangement, accord, contract or other disastrous , mischievous intentions authorizing this notorious corporate in Africa ( Niger, Gabon …) and in the world to extract uranium and other radioactive minerals on and in the Congo’s territory. And this is to prevent its activities, which are known to be accompanied by no value and no human dignity, from affecting obviously and arrogantly our immense lakes, our numerous rivers, Our Magnificent River Congo, Rain Forest, all Congo Basin, Water, animals and vegetation. As the Western Cost of the Atlantic Ocean will suffer, also, the same fate as all the territory. Congo and its natural worthy assets are in jeopardy; and this being caused by the mischievous and harmful intention to destroy them. The only thing, remaining, is for people like you and me to stand up and raise our voices to rescue Congo and its natural assets from the criminal plan against humanity. For, this plan intends, simply, to destroy systematically all sources of lives on the Earth by the irresponsible nuclear activities.
Clearly, what motivates to oppose forcefully any uranium exploration or extraction activities by AREVA on all the Congolese territory are undoubtedly the below facts:
-This mischievous ambition of nuclear activities will, absolutely, destroy the River Congo by radioactivity and other related pollutions ; as it has been reported in Niger, Gabon and African countries; 1
-These unreasonable and irresponsible radioactive activities will destroy the Rain Forest, the lung of all humanity; and the lung of France, the “land of Human and Citizen’s Rights in the world”!
-The uranium exploitation activities in Congo by AREVA will kill all the population. Animals, vegetation will disappear in very short time. The Congolese future generations won’t understand the extent of the irresponsibility mixed with unexplainable wickedness – as to sign on March 26, 2009 an agreement between the French uranium corporate and the criminal Kinshasa regime, the agreement seen by many as an action plan to destroy the whole humanity; because this mischievous and dishonest contract will change the Congo space, one of the most luxurious parts of the planet and essential for LIFE, into a desert and a hostile environment to any living being; consequence of radioactivity.
It is still in our mind the unfortunate events that have occurred in Japan since March 11, 2011(earthquakes, tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear plant explosions) causing terrible high and vast radioactivity contamination. Remaining in compassion with the country and thousands of victims, they ( events ) remind the degree of dangerousness and permanent threats that this nuclear group , AREVA, represents in Africa, where it collects arrogantly, its killing raw materials: Uranium and other radioactive minerals; in total complicity with the regimes in Africa. Niger, Gabon, Congo DRC, South Africa, Namibia… are the countries that suffer and will be suffering for long time the consequences of the radioactive mining activities (explorations, exploitations, exportations or utilizations).
The rate of people who are dying from the effects of radioactivity, for having been exposed to (with no defense and no information), is very high (2 ). Others are developing very dangerous diseases that they keep long in ignorance and in fear to be “liquidated” if they reveal them. Children are being born with extreme malformations. Doctors, bitterly, see them; but they keep quite; fearing to face the anger of the nuclear interests groups. The Medical Doctors keep silent. But an eloquent silence; for they say it in a low voice, “ The high death rate, is the consequence of the radioactive elements in the bodies of the dying people due to parents, water, food, air from the already- contaminated areas of uranium exploitation”.
In this environment, it is necessary to say boldly that, “ To combat nuclear existence/issue, its effects and the catastrophic consequences in Africa and in the world, one must not fear the punitive power of the nuclear groups”. When Golden Misabiko sees the threats, he raises his humble voice to say that the nuclear danger and threats in Congo Kinshasa, in Africa and in the world are an evident reality. He says it with courage, determination, tenacity and truth. And this is his contribution in the efforts to protect humanity under nuclear threats. The truth is, here, stronger than any other force; even the nuclear force and death. No prison, no intimidation in the world; even the stupid assassination will never alter this virtue or keep it to silence. Golden Misabiko should be listened to; and not to be killed as the Kinshasa criminal regime has done to the Prominent Colleague Floribert Chebeya and His Companion Fidele Bazana in their mission for humanity.
Indeed, the place of this worker for Humanity is not in prison; his place should be where he could be listened to, for him to give his contribution in the universal common efforts to protect and preserve HUMANITY, OUR HUMANITY.
Facing nuclear threats in Africa and in the world, it is urgent to mobilize once again (without fear of the same nuclear force ) all the means. Intellectual, moral, material, political, traditional and social means in order to put an end to all forms of nuclear ambitions at all their phases ( exploration, exploitation, exportation or utilization phase of uranium) that are being planned harmfully by the AREVA group or any other corporate in Congo Kinshasa, in Africa and in all the world; so as Africa should not contribute, by means of the radioactive minerals it has, to the destruction of Humanity it is known to be the natural origin “bearer and protector”. Despite the technology deficit it is suffering, Africa can still count on the force and courage of some of its men and women who can still raise their voices to say, “ NEVER, NEVER and NEVER AREVA and NUCLEAR PROGRAM in CONGO, in AFRICA; and in the WORLD !“ .
In the action to protect our Humanity against nuclear dangers and disasters, it is urgent to call on:
- Men and Women of good will, from all over the world, to join their voices to ours to say,” NEVER, NEVER AND NEVER NUCLEAR PROGRAMS IN AFRICA AND IN THE WORLD;
- All National and International Non-Government Organizations to initiate concrete and efficient actions with new approaches to tackle the nuclear issue;
- All the Governments of the World to resume the debates on this real nuclear danger that is threatening the existence of the Earth;
- The American Congress to propose a “World Permanent Structure” to monitor and forbid total exploitation of uranium in Congo Kinshasa, Africa and in the world;
- The French Senate to work in the sense of prohibiting any exploitation of uranium or any nuclear program in Congo Kinshasa, in Africa and in the world by AREVA . And this is to stop it from committing criminal retaliation against Human Rights Defenders ( see Golden Misabiko; in French National Assembly, Resolution Proposal , November 9, 2009 ); 3
- The African Union to raise the voice, with more authority, to get Africa out of the risks of total radiation and contamination before it is late;
- To All Universal Civil Society to come together in an action to liberate Africa and the world from all nuclear dangers and threats; and to initiate and propose creation of the International Special Court against any nuclear danger; and threat against humanity.
Human Rights Defender
NOMINE MEA 2006 for Human Rights
Civil Society Leader/ Congo Kinshasa
Expert Protected for Human Rights
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org