Chlordecone: a petition to make the voice of civil society heard

Chlordecone: a petition to make the voice of civil society heard
Chlordecone: a petition to make the voice of civil society heard

Three associations defending victims of Chlordecone in the French West Indies are inviting as many people as possible to sign an online petition. This includes demanding from justice the continuation of the procedure aimed at compensating those who suffer the impact of pollution by this pesticide. Elected officials are also targeted. The consequences of contamination are, they recall, health, social, professional, economic.

Chlordecone pollution: repair!!

This is the title of a petition posted online on April 30, on the change.org website, by West Indian environmental associations.Matinik Doubout – Gaoulé kont Chlordecone”Lyannaj pou depolyé Matinik” And “Living – Guadeloupe”. The goal of their members is to carry the voice of civil society, which is not sufficiently taken into account in this matter.

On April 24, the General Prosecutor’s Office requested confirmation of the dismissal of the case, in the appeal procedure.
The organizations behind the petition are among the plaintiffs in this legal case. They were already contesting, in January 2023, the closure of the judicial investigation, after 15 years of investigation.
The dismissal appeal will be examined on June 10.

As a reminder, the molecule Chlordecone, used to combat the weevil in banana plantations in the Antilles, has poisoned populations and permanently polluted the land, water and wildlife of Guadeloupe and Martinique. The pesticide had been authorized in these territories until 1993 by derogation, although it had been banned in mainland France three years earlier.
We only know part of the health consequences of contamination: the islands of the French West Indies, for example, have one of the highest incidence rates of prostate cancer in the world.

In 10 days, the petition collected just over 600 signatures. The associations’ requests are addressed to parliamentarians, the Government and the President of the Republic.

It’s a way to put pressure, explains the president of the “Vivre – Guadeloupe” association.

Petitions like this are a way of counting our strengths and giving the opportunity to a larger part of the Martinican and Guadeloupean population and even, more broadly, in France, to show that the voice of civil society exists and that it is not sufficiently taken into account in judicial decisions, or even in proposed laws (…).

Jean-Marie Flower, science popularizer and president of the “Vivre – Guadeloupe” association.

Who are the victims of Chordecone? They are much more numerous than those which are recognized and supported by the authorities, at present, according to the associations at the origin of the petition.

We need a much broader definition of the concept of Chlordecone victim. The victims are not only those who have fallen ill. These are also those who have lost their jobs (aquaculturists, fishermen, etc.), those who have suffered economic losses simply because they have not been able to adapt to this pollution, they are also the people who have had, at a given moment, positive chlordeconemia (…).

Jean-Marie Flower, science popularizer and president of the “Vivre – Guadeloupe” association.

Legal proceedings in the Chlordecone case are continuing.
For the signatories, the use of the petition allows above all to move the lines.

When you launch a petition, you never know how many signatures you will get. But we also know, for example, that chlordeconemia, which initially cost €150, ended up becoming free, in particular, because there were, not one, but several petitions launched in mainland France, in Guadeloupe, in Martinique, to show that there was a strong expectation from civil society, for the lines to move.

Jean-Marie Flower, scientific popularizer and president of the “Vivre – Guadeloupe” association

Failing to obtain justice, the victims of Chlordecone had a consolation which, certainly, goes in the right direction: on February 29, the National Assembly symbolically recognized the responsibility of the State in the poisoning of the Antilles.

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