Action on Russian Asbestos

April 25, 2013

To mark International Workers’ Memorial Day, a demonstration is being held on 26 April outside the Russian Embassy in London calling for an end to the mining, sale and export of asbestos from Russia.

Asbestos-related disease kills more than 100,000 workers every year, according to the International Labor Organization.

Russia is, by far, the world’s biggest producer of asbestos, mining one million tonnes of asbestos fibre every year; this equates to half of all global production.

Over recent years, Russia has assumed the leadership of a global asbestos propaganda campaign that targets governments and consumers in developing countries where neither workers nor members of the public have any protection from hazardous exposures to

The 26th April demonstration will be the first asbestos protest outside a Russian Embassy anywhere in the world. It is being organized by asbestos victims, trade unionists and campaigners whose letter sent two months ago to Ambassador Alexander Vladimirovich
Yakovenko has been ignored.

Commenting on this week’s activity, Laurie Kazan-Allen, Coordinator of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat and one of the coorganizers of this demonstration, said, “It is deplorable that the Russian Government aids and abets the asbestos industry. Despite the fact that the use of asbestos has been banned during the construction of the Sochi Olympics, it is understood that the Russian Government intends to block UN plans to regulate the global trade in asbestos at an upcoming meeting in Geneva. This double standard is as hypocritical as it is deplorable. If asbestos is too dangerous for international athletes, surely it is too
dangerous for Filipino, Thai and Indian workers.”