Freedom from radiation is a human right

There was  a recent post by group Human Rights Now concerning a UN report:

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) is about to submit a report on Fukushima to the United Nations General Assembly.   Human Rights Now, along with 63 Japanese civil society organizations, has issued a statement requesting UNSCEAR, and the General Assembly Fourth Committee to revise the report and its finding from a human rights perspective.   The statement outlines the case for a more cautious approach to low level radiation exposure in order to help protect the most vulnerable people after the Fukushima nuclear accident.

The report makes 7 important points:

  1. the results of these investigations contain some problems in terms of objectivity, independence, and accuracy, and that the underestimation of the effects of radiation exposure could have negative effects on the human rights and protection of citizens.
  2.  the United Nations Scientific Committee has never officially visited Fukushima prefecture to investigate after the Fukushima nuclear accident
  3. the United Nations Scientific Committee speculates that the risk for thyroid cancer for infants needs to be increased, they do not expect an increase in risks for other kinds of cancer. This contradicts the results of current epidemiological research which indicates health effects of low-level radiation
  4. The United Nations Scientific Committee observes that there is little risk to health by radiation in Fukushima. However, this view differs greatly from the prospects which are included in the reports regarding the nuclear accident in Fukushima by the WHO.
  5. Soon after the nuclear plant accident in Fukushima, the Japanese government relaxed the limit on radiation exposure from less than 1mSv to 20 mSv a year and decided to set this limit as a standard for issuing evacuation advisories. As a result, many people, including children, infants and pregnant women, have been forced to live in high level radiation exposure areas with no support to evacuate, migrate or protect themselves from radiation exposure with sufficient health measures. 
  6. the Japanese government should “formulate a national plan on evacuation zones and dose limits of radiation by using current scientific evidence, based on human rights rather than on a risk-benefit analysis, and reduce the radiation dose to less than 1mSv/year;”.As stated above, we, the civil society, request that the United Nations Scientific Committee and the United Nations General Assembly Forth Committee revise the reports of the United Nations Scientific Committee from a human rights perspective to take a more cautious approach with regards to low level radiation exposure to protect the most vulnerable people based on careful and sufficient deliberations.
  7. As stated above, we, the civil society, request that the United Nations Scientific Committee and the United Nations General Assembly Forth Committee revise the reports of the United Nations Scientific Committee from a human rights perspective to take a more cautious approach with regards to low level radiation exposure to protect the most vulnerable people based on careful and sufficient deliberations.

In a previous post I commented on how much information is enough.   This post raises other questions: whose data should be used, and what standards should be upheld. In Syria  the international community was not taking the word of the government. There are NGO’s on the ground in Syria to look for  chemical weapons.   In Japan they are taking the word of the government, and I suspect that the government is taking the word of TEPCO.

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