The Most Rev. Paul Nguyen Thai Hop
Bishop of Diocese of Vinh
Xa Doai, Nghe An
Nghe An, Oct. 25th 2017
In April 2016, Formosa Company knowingly discharged a large amount of toxic industrial wastes into the sea of Central Vietnam, created a serious contamination which led to huge fish carcasses that extended over 250 km of the coastline. Fish, shrimps, coral and other sea species died due to the destruction of the marine ecosystem in Central Vietnam, that it would take decades to rectify. In addition, toxins from industrial wastes that accumulate on the sea bed, are potential deadly diseases to the Vietnamese in the long term. (II) We, the undersigned, are directly and indirectly victims of the environmental catastrophe caused by the limited liabilities steel mill called Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh (Formosa Company) – a branch of Taiwanese Formosa Corporation- to the four provinces in Central Vietnam. First of all, we want to express our deep gratitude to the Vietnamese Community in Norway for their concerns and efforts in raising public awareness of the Formosa catastrophe that Vietnamese are suffering in their homeland (II). As a result, the NRK, a Norwegian media, has raised this issue, to the Norwegians in August 2017. (I). Framtiden i Våre Hender, a non-governmental organization spoke out about this catastrophe. Since then, we learn that there are three investors from Norway invested in Formosa Company. This is the reason why we are writing this Petition to you.
From the beginning, the Formosa Company denied all responsibities.
On April 25th, 2016, when a Vietnamese reporter contacted a representive of Formosa Comapny, the representative denied that the fish carcasses were not caused by Formosa Company. He further said: “Do you want fish, shrimp or factory. Make your choice!” (III).
On April 26th, 2016, the Formosan Company leaders held an emergency press conference with the Vietnamese media to mitigate the statement that was made on April 25th, 2016 by the representative that caused anger throughout the country. At this press conference, Formosa Company leaders, when asked, continued denying the responsibility for the fish carcasses. In addition, the Formosa Company leaders affirmed that their toxic waste treatment system is the most advanced in the world: “The Deputy General Director Truong Phuc Ninh asserted that to operate the steel mill, the machineries and equipments were brought from Europe are the most advanced ones in the world. Formosa Company invested 45 million USD to have the most advanced chemical toxic waste disposal system. The problem of mass fish carcasses that were associated by toxic waste must wait for the Vietnamese authorities’ conclusion” (IV). But on June 30th, 2016, in a press conference organized by the government of Vietnam, the representative of the Vietnam government said that Formosa Company is the culprit for the fish carcasses that were found along over 250 km sea shore of the four provinces in Central Vietnam (V).
The Formosa catastrophe has not only destroyed the source of seafood produce, a primary food source for the Vietnamese in the Central Vietnam, but also caused a chain of losses to other employment fields. The catstrophe has led to major job losses in the fishing industry including aquaculture, food processing and logistics. Other related industries including tourism, hospitality, restaurants and suppliers have also been seriously affected. Hundred thousands of families face hardship due to unemployment, many moved away from their homes to remote areas. Thousands of children are unable to attend school due to their family’s income loss.
In addition, we are facing with the serious, deadly and incurable diseases such as cancer, deformities, birth defects, mental illness, etc… due to the consumption of contaminated seafood products with toxic, heavy metals that were discharged in to the sea by Formosa Company. Even more shockingly is when media discovered that Formosa Company, not only discharged toxic wastes into the sea but it also illegally buried solid wastes in surrounding land areas. We are extremely concerned about our health, lives and the future of generations to come. We understand that money is needed, and you invest to make profit, but when profit is gained from destroying a healthy living environment, causing serious health issues … is one thing that, we strongly believe, you would never do nor accept, because Norway is the country that respects human rights and peace, and every year its Rafto Foundation awards the prizes for Human Rights and the Nobel Peace. In addition, we were told that the Norwegians were crying upon reading the news of the whales died because of the plastic debris (found) in their bellies, which proves that Norwegians are very respectful of the environment and valued the lives of people and animals as well. In a press conference on June 30th, Formosa Company promised to pay 500 million USD to compensate victims, create jobs and restore the marine environment. Unfortunately, in reality, only a small number of victims received a small amount of money, called compensation, but it does not match the damages that the victims have faced. Many other victims were denied. Especially, Formosa Company has not made any attempt to clean the marine environment and restored the ecosystems. With this Petition, we humbly ask that your rights of the shareholders be exercised to force the Formosa Company in Ha Tinh to accept the responsibilities for its business and production in our country, be mindful to the living environment of the Vietnamese people, and disclose all toxic chemicals discharged into the sea that caused fish carcasses along the coast of Central Vietnam. In addition, we ask Formosa Company in Ha Tinh to come up with specific plans, under the supervision of the international professional organizations, to start the process of cleaning, restoring the sea, the land, the environment and to fairly compensate the affected victims. We look forward to your support. With deep gratitude, I remain
The Most Reverence Paul Nguyen Thai Hop
Bishop of Vinh Diocese