Subono Speaks out at Rotterdam Convention Meeting (CoP9)

May 9, 2019

Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA’s Asbestos. Not here. Not anywhere. campaign aims to achieve asbestos bans in Asia. APHEDA works with asbestos ban networks, unions and civil society to raise the profile of the campaign to ban asbestos and change the rules at the Rotterdam Convention so asbestos producing countries can’t continue to block the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous chemical. Subono, a victim of chrysotile asbestos, spoke on behalf of victims at the Rotterdam Convention meeting (CoP9) and delivered a strong message to the floor saying the financial gains of a few should not risk the lives of many. Here is Subono’s speech…

Message to Conference of Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (CoP9)

My name is Subono. I worked for 14 years at SICP, a manufacturer of chrysotile raw materials imported from Russia, Brazil and Kazakhstan. I am suffering from asbestos related disease from exposure to chrysotile asbestos. I am here representing other friends who are victims of asbestos in Indonesia and in the world. 

We are angry with the countries blocking the listing at this Convention. There are over 200,000 deaths from chrysotile exposure every year.  Millions dead over the last 20 years. Almost half of all global occupational diseases are caused by chrysotile asbestos but still no action here on this substance. COP9 marks the 7th COP over 12 years that chrysotile asbestos has been recommended but blocked. We condemn this veto.

We know the lie of safe use. I worked in inhuman, dusty working conditions without real Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This made me and my friends often experience pain, coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue. Examinations that companies did were company secrets and not accessible

We demand, at this meeting, chrysotile can be included in the list of Appendix III or that the Convention is reformed to ensure this. Our hope is that all delegates here support it.

How can the financial interests of just a few Parties block the desires of the many to protect workers like me, from toxic exposures?


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