Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill : A Human Rights Issue

3290 Words Jun 9th, 2015 14 Pages
Caitlin Morse
8 June 2015
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: A Human Rights Issue In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, polluting the Gulf of Mexico with 4.9 million barrels of oil (EPA, 2015). This disaster is known as the BP oil spill, and is regarded as one of the worst environmental catastrophes in American history. Although it is widely recognized for its impact on ocean ecosystems, marine animals, and public health, it is also a human rights issue. The extensive impacts of the spill include the violations of the human rights to a healthy environment, livelihood, and housing. Further, the oil spill disproportionately affected low-income communities of color that are systematically excluded from protection against environmental harm. This adds to its relevance to human rights because all rights are intended to be enjoyed equally regardless of race, color, income, or other status. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill demonstrates how the legal system often fails to defend vulnerable people and the inequalities associated with the damage and compensation of the disaster. Amnesty International published a detailed and comprehensive report on the human rights violations in the Gulf Coast. The authors highlight the six major violations: shortage of affordable housing, inadequate mental health care, inadequate primary health care, failure to rebuild, police corruption, and criminal justice issues (Amnesty International, 2010). The article focuses on how much…

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