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Words in the News
Monday 26 November 2001
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  Pollution
Court helps victims of environmental disasters
Summary: The rights of victims of environmental disasters have been recognised by the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. The Court has signed an agreement with the Cousteau environmental society as a basis for settling international disputes between organisations and individuals. This report from Geraldine Coughlan:
   
The News Listen  
  It's the first time a court will give legitimacy to environmental disputes between individuals and organisations in an international context. Until now there's been no global forum for the victims of environmental disasters to seek damages, such as those in Romania and Hungary who suffered as a result of the cyanide spill from an Australian mining company last year.

Others have had to wait more than a decade for their claims to be handled, like the relatives of the thousands in Bhopal, India, who died from the chemical spill at the US company Union Carbide plant in 1984.

The Court of Arbitration's new rules, adopted in June, will speed up the legal procedure for resolving cross border disputes over environmental issues. But in signing the agreement with the Cousteau Society the court has a more noble objective, that of sustainable development

With the Cousteau Society's windship, Alcyone, at its disposal the Court will have the expertise to establish a legal basis, not only to settle international disputes but to preserve the environment for future generations.

GERALDINE COUGHLAN, BBC, THE HAGUE

 
   
The Words Listen
 
  give legitimacy to
to accept or approve of something officially

 
   
  forum
a place or event where people can discuss ideas

 
   
  to seek damages
to try to get money through a court if someone has harmed you

 
   
  to be handled
to be dealt with (in this case by the court)

 
   
  cross border disputes
disagreements that take place in more than one country

 
   
  noble
honest, brave or unselfish

 
   
  sustainable development
growth (in the economy or in business) which does not damage the environment

 
   
  at its disposal
for it to use as it wishes

 
   
  Read more about this story  
 

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