Last year it was known that pedophiles used dating agencies to get foreign women with children to Norway. Investigations NorWatch has undertaked reveal that norwegian websites are willing to give detailed information on the advertised womens children. We may have to look in on the legislation, says vice-chief in the Childrens Comission.
After several years of strikes and poor productivity, there is today widespread co-operation between the parties in Jamaica's bauxite and alumina industry. In 1998, the unions, companies and the government signed a joint agreement in which the parties are obliged to improve competitiveness and environmental standards. However, repeated complaints from the neighbouring communities show that the industry is not a gain to everybody. One of the companies involved in Jamaica's bauxite and alumina industry is Norsk Hydro.
Political conflicts are emerging in Espirito Santo after the State Parliament has passed a law banning the further expansion of eucalyptus plantations. The law proposal, which was recently authored by a parliamentarian, states that further planting of eucalyptus is halted until an agro-ecological mapping of the state is put in place. The mapping will show where to prefer traditional agriculture instead of plantation forestry.
For the second time in four years, Kværner in Singapore signed a contract in and with the military dictatorship of Burma. Last time, the human rights movement protested. This time, the European top management itself declined the contract.
Norway is often in the front line, at least verbally, in defending the principles enshrined in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But these principles are easier (and cheaper) to embrace than to implement.
Less than a year after Hydro Agri promised publicly that they now had control over the safety routines at their Trinidad ammonia plants, the oldest of the three plants was shaken by an accident that led to a serious case of fire. Meanwhile, two workers who were badly injured in the fatal explosion at the same plant back in 1997 are still fighting to get compensation for loss of their health.
The latest issue of Scientific American (June 2001) brings an extensive article about the proposed power plant at the Kunene River in Namibia, the so-called Epupa Dam project (see also NorWatch 5/97, 19/97, 18/97, and 12/99). NORAD was the largest contributor to the project pre-feasibility study, with contributions amounting to NOK 25 million (approximately USD 3 mill). One of the involved companies was Norconsult.
CARE (UK) and Business Partners for Development (BPD) have withdrawn from their previous cooperation with the controversial mining consortium Utkal Alumina. The reason is the high level of conflict in the area, relating to the proposed mining project. Local NGOs and the Norwegian Church Aid are happy with the decision. Meanwhile, Norsk Hydro is negotiating with the Indian industrial conglomerate Aditya Birla on selling a part of its 45% share in Utkal Alumina.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Philippines have, on behalf of the new Government, cancelled the Mineral Production Agreement that Crew was awarded this winter at the island of Mindoro. Crew says the cancellation has no legal basis, and that it occurred without prior consultation with the company.
Residents close to the Alpart alumina refinery in Jamaica, which is partly owned by Norwegian Hydro Aluminium, recently blocked the company's private railroad. The reason was dissatisfaction with compensations after polluting emissions from the refinery. While the Alpart management warns that such protests may result in a temporary close down, representatives from the affected communities claim they only want a fair compensation for their suffering.
A significant portion of the raw material used in Norwegian aluminium smelters is produced on the Caribbean island of Jamaica. The bauxite mining is taking place on the countryside near the town of Mandeville and more than a thousand farmers have been resettled since Norsk Hydro acquired part ownership of Jamaica's largest company, Alpart. Most families are compensated with new houses and gardens but many residents still complain about noise and dust from the mining operations.