FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA, June 16, 2011 – “It’s time to put human health ahead of the asbestos industry” was the message sent to Prime Minister Harper today. Brenda Wallace, National President of the Canadian Federation of University Women, called on PM Harper to stop preventing the UN Rotterdam Convention from adding chrysotile asbestos to its list of hazardous substances.
It is well recognized that many countries who import chrysotile asbestos have lax standards for safe handling of the product. For fear that it will not be handled safely, most countries have either severely restricted or banned the use of all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile. Canada’s failure to take action on this issue is contributing to the premature deaths of many thousands of people in countries with poor standards.
The Convention promotes responsible trade by requiring that “prior informed consent” be obtained before a country exports a hazardous substance on its list. The Convention’s Chemical Review Committee has repeatedly called for chrysotile asbestos to be put on the list, but Canada has refused. Harper and Minister Christian Paradis have said that Canada will continue to block the listing.
“It is indefensible for Canada to continue to block the listing, and their actions are bringing shame on Canada’s international reputation,” said Wallace, “We call on PM Harper to do the right thing: Support the Rotterdam Convention and human rights, not the asbestos industry.”
CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization of close to 10,000 women university graduates, students and Associate Members in 113 Clubs across Canada that works to improve the status of women and human rights, education, social, justice, and peace. CFUW holds special consultative status with the United Nations (ECOSOC) Commission on the Status of Women and belongs to the Education Sector of the Canadian Commission to UNESCO. CFUW is the largest of the 67 affiliates of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW).
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