Center for Human Rights and the Environment
General Paz, 186 - 10A, Córdoba, 5000 Argentina, Cedha@cedha.org.ar
54 (351) 425-6278 www.cedha.org.ar
Two large European firms, BOTNIA of Finland and ENCE of Spain, after suffering legal problems from contamination
caused by their European operations, both propose to build paper pulp mills in a small South American country: the Republic
Uruguay. The plants are to be located at Fray Bentos, a city on eastern coast of the Uruguay River, which constitutes the natural
border with the Republic of Argentina.
The National Government of Argentina, the provincial government of Entre Ríos (an Argentine province that will be
affected by the projects) and the population of de Gualeguaychú (located opposite Fray Bentos in Argentina) have raised their
voices to protest against the risk of contamination, damage to health and quality of life, putting diplomatic processes in ac tion
by denouncing certain facts before the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Compliance Advisor
Ombudsman (CAO) of the World Bank, which is co-funding the project. The submission to the CAO was supported by the
signatures of over 39 000 Uruguayan and Argentine citizens.
IN LIGHT OF THESE FACTS, COMMONLY BROADCAST BY LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL PRESS,
SIGNATORY ORGANISATIONS SUPPORT THE FOLLOWING:
1) Foreign investment in developing countries must not only consider their mere financial interest of investors, but the real
interests of the target country and the unrestricted consideration of environmental effects and the quality of life of
citizens threatened by potential effects of investment.
2) It is necessary to eliminate the mechanics of international relations that allow public or private agents in other countries
to export problems, conflicts or situations of risk to developing countries. The developing world must not turn into the
world’s rubbish tip.
3) It is absolutely necessary to protect the world’s resources. South America is the biggest reserve of land, resources,
fresh water and forests in the world. Global citizens have a moral obligation to preserve these resources. The only
allowable exploitation of resources must occur only in order to achieve sustainable development and inter-generational
4) Economic criteria must take into consideration the relationship between society and nature. Environmental degradation
effects human rights inherent to all of mankind, and similarly promotes cultural and social degradation.
AND IN CONCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE, SIGNATORIES ASSENT TO THE FOLLOWING DECLARATION:
1) We declare our unity with the potentially affected populations, especially the people of FRAY BENTOS (Uruguay) and
GUALEGUAYCHÚ (Argentina) and the surrounding areas.
2) We oppose the installation of paper pulp mills in these locations until it is guaranteed that they conform to the strictest
international regulations, thereby upholding the preservation of the environment and the quality of life for the region’s
3) We ask that competent international organizations assume these responsibilities and exercise their capacity to prevent
harmful effects to the Uruguay River and surrounds, thus guaranteeing the human rights for victims and inhabitants.
3) We call together all the entities and organizations of civil society to adhere to the present pronouncement in defense of
human rights and the natural surroundings.