Saturday, December 21, 2013 marks the second anniversary of the death of Rachel Lee Jung-Lim. Rachel was a mesothelioma patient who died because of her asbestos-caused illness at age 39. But this young South Korean woman also became in the brief time left to her, a strong voice in the global ban asbestos fight.
Rachel was supported in her campaign against asbestos by a leading international veteran in the global asbestos contamination struggle, my sister Laurie Kazan-Allen. I’ve just learned that Laurie has been announced as this year’s recipient of the Rachel Lee Jung-Lim Award.
Laurie became interested in asbestos issues long ago. Because she was living in England, I asked her to serve legal papers for Kazan Law on asbestos companies based there who we were suing in the US.
She also did some research for me on cases involving clients who had worked in the UK. That’s how she initially got to meet victims groups. But Laurie deserves full credit for where she took it from there and for the level of integrity, dedication and passion she has brought to this cause.
But I fear I am biased. So I will simply quote from the letter announcing Laurie’s award:
- Laurie Kazan-Allen has devoted herself to the campaign of global asbestos ban over 14 years with the establishment of International Ban Asbestos Secretariat in 2000. In doing so, she was one of the first to raise the issue of increased asbestos consumption in developing countries, particularly in Asia, whilst most western societies have banned or reduced.
- As an activist, her soul has rested always with victims and through recognizing, organizing, and supporting victims, she has contributed a lot to the launching and strengthening of civil movements in many developed and developing countries.
- Without her, it would have been impossible to launch Ban Asbestos Network Korea in 2008, Asia Ban Asbestos network in 2009, and Indonesia Ban Asbestos Network in 2010.
- Her life has been a role model to many activists as well as experts. We do hope her dream of a global asbestos ban comes true not far from now as Rachel Lee Jung-Lim wished too.
The award is jointly presented by the following groups:
Asian Citizen’s Center for Environment and Health
School of Public Health Seoul National University
Ban Asbestos Network Korea
Korean Association of Asbestos Victims and their Families
Asia Ban Asbestos Network
Ban Asbestos Network Japan
Asia Monitor Resource Center