Osasco Proposals Presented by ABREA
After five years work, we at ABREA (Association of Brazilians Exposed to Asbestos) have the duty to evaluate the difficulties encountered by victims and indicate new ways of overcoming these problems.
We have therefore prepared the following proposals which we now present for discussion and approval by the World Asbestos Congress - Past, Present and Future.
SPECIAL PENSION RIGHTS
The National Social Security Institute (INSS) has made the award of benefit conditional on the presentation of an employer's Technical Report. This demand is illegal and inappropriate, because the law has only required an SB-40 document for the award of special pension rights since 1993 when Eternit closed down.
RECOGNITION OF PLEURAL PLAQUES AS AN OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE
The rights of asbestos victims with pleural plaques are not being recognised because medical reports are saying that pleural plaques do not reduce a person's capacity to work.
It is essential that doctors prepare written reports disputing such opinions so that victims have the technical documentation they need to challenge such medical reports.
The INSS(National Social Security Institute) is refusing to award accident benefit to asbestos victims on the grounds that the condition does not affect a person's capacity to work.
Together with the trade union movement, we must present medical and legal evidence so that these procedures are dropped by the INSS(National Social Security Institute).
REVIEW OF EXTRAJUDICIAL AGREEMENTS
Although a large number of victims has signed extra-judicial agreements with their employers, these agreements should not be considered definitive and should be open to judicial review.
We must encourage victims to make claims for compensation from these companies, even when they have signed such contracts, as their consent was only obtained under duress.
REVIEW OF CASES JUDGED TO BE INAPPROPRIATE
Many cases brought against companies and against the INSS(National Social Security Institute) have been thrown out by the courts because the medical reports presented did not prove that exposure caused ill-health. These cases should be reviewed as soon as further evidence can be presented.
We must back new claims based on medical evidence produced by new examinations showing how the disease has progressed and how disability has increased.
We need to:
Research the creation, in partnership with governments and the trade union movement, of a FUND FOR THE ASSISTANCE OF ASBESTOS VICTIMS. Such a FUND would be integrated into health, social welfare and environmental legislation and be developed with the help of national and international exchanges and agreements;
Create a COMPUTERISED DATABASE containing the following information:
Register of diagnosed cases of disease;
Bibliography of legal literature and case law;
Bibliography of medical literature;
Records of international cases that indicate how we might best
Proceed in the fight to ban asbestos.
Intensify exchanges with international environmental, public health and worker organisations;
Initiate partnerships with doctors and lawyers at a national and international level;
Ask lawyers recommended by ABREA to commit themselves to maintaining up-to-date case files at the Association's headquarters;
Seek medical partners that can provide technical assistance in workplace accident investigations and compensation claims; and
Advance the discussion about claiming compensation from international companies based in the United States, France, Belgium and Switzerland.
Liabilities should be charged to the companies that manipulated and going on manipulating asbestos for the environmental damages caused.
Companies that produced or employed asbestos products and those that continue to do so should be held liable for the environmental damage caused.
CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR A WORLD ASBESTOS BAN