On Friday, the long awaited policy note by Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag was published. The note was the outcome of a process of consultation, scientific analysis and much discussion within and outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We searched for the spirit underlying it: What trends does this minister consolidate and deepen? What is new? Are those new aspects a superficial change of discourse or a genuine break with the past? On what issues is the paper silent and what do those silences tell us?
PRESS RELEASE: Dutch dredgers ignore human rights in Suez Canal expansion
The Dutch government and the Dutch dredging companies involved in the Suez Canal expansion failed to consider the adverse impact of their activities would have on both human rights and the environment. These are the findings of SOMO and Both ENDS in their research report ‘Dredging in the Dark’. Four companies worked day and night to dredge 200 million m3 of sand in a record-breaking time of nine months, which negatively affected local residents. Financial risks were covered by the Dutch export credit insurance company Atradius DSB, on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Finance.
The successes of Both ENDS’ work are usually the result of prolonged efforts. The same goes for our endeavours in Suape, Brazil. This week, Wiert Wiertsema and a representative from partner-organisation SOMO took off to Brazil to support another milestone. Around thirty parties from different states in the country, including environmental organisations, lawyers and of course, representatives of the Forum Suape as well, gathered in the port. This shows that the social movement that has risen as a reaction to the disastrous expansion of the port and industrialisation is also slowly taking shape elsewhere in Brazil. The saga of Suape seems to have become a stone cast in the pond of Brazilian environmental politics.