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Precious minerals and stones are mined in dozens of countries around the world, and then typically traded, exported, and processed in other countries. Although their supply chains can be long and complex, jewelers and watchmakers have a responsibility to…
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This submission highlights concerns about Tanzania’s compliance with its international human rights obligations since its last Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2011. It focuses on children’s rights and the rights of vulnerable groups, in particular…
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One Year On, Governments Should Commit to Action

(New York) – Governments should make an urgent commitment to protect people from the harmful effects of mercury by signing and ratifying the new Minamata Convention on Mercury, Human Rights Watch said today, on the eve of a high-level UN event about the…
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Many multinational companies now ban children from working in their operations, but child labor is still a central issue for them. In the globalized economy, products have long and complex supply chains, often reaching down to a multitude of small, local…
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Ministers Should Endorse, Implement Minamata Convention

(Geneva) – Health ministers should pledge to take comprehensive action to prevent and treat the negative health effects of mercury, a toxic chemical, Human Rights Watch said today. The World Health Assembly is scheduled to discuss a resolution on the new…
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Last Saturday, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda opened Education Week at Jamhuri stadium in Dodoma, setting off a national debate about the state of schooling in Tanzania. The week’s theme is “Quality education for all is possible”, and it is part of the…
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Every cell phone or computer contains only a small amount of gold. But due to an ever-expanding electronics industry, according to statistics by the World Gold Council, these sectors consume more than 6 percent of the gold produced globally. But the five…
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Governments Should Sign, Ratify to Protect Environment, Health

Governments around the world should immediately sign the new, groundbreaking Minamata Convention on Mercury, Human Rights Watch said today. Officials around the world will meet in Kumamoto, Japan beginning October 7, 2013, to formally adopt the treaty.…
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“Ibrahim” is a 12-year-old boy working in a small Tanzanian gold mine. One of his main jobs is to separate gold from the ore by using mercury, a toxic metal. Using his bare hands, he mixes mercury with ground-up ore to create a mercury-gold amalgam, then…
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Since 2000 the number of child laborers worldwide has dropped by one-third, from 248 million to 168 million, according to new statistics just released by the International Labor Organization (ILO). While the progress is encouraging, the number of children…
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Tanzania needs to act on child labour in the hazardous gold mining industry, fast.

I met Farida, a widow, and her seven children on a gold processing site for small-scale miners in Tanzania. The air was thick with dust mixed with particles of the metal and mercury - byproducts of the mining process. A thin layer of white powder settled…
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“I thought I was dead,” Adam K. said, describing a mining accident the previous year, when he was 16 years-old. Adam, who started mining at age 12, was digging a horizontal mining shaft, deep in the ground.  The tunnel collapsed in front of him,…
Report
Toxic Toil Child Labor and Mercury Exposure in Tanzania’s Small-Scale Gold Mines Map of Gold Mining in Tanzania Key Terms Summary Key Recommendations To the…
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Government, World Bank, Donors Should Address Child Labor in Mines

(Dar Es Salaam) – Children as young as eight years old are working in Tanzanian small-scale gold mines, with grave risks to their health and even their lives, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Tanzanian government should curb child…
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The New International Convention on the Highly Toxic Metal Mercury Could, Despite Some Flaws, Be a Huge Step Forward in Protecting the Right to Health This weekend, more than 140 governments agreed on the text for a new legally binding convention on…
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But Governments Fail to Plan Phase-Out in Small-Scale Gold Mining

(Geneva) – The international mercury treaty just agreed sends an important signal that governments must do more to address the threat of mercury to the right to health, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 19, 2013, 140 governments created the treaty…
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In Final Talks, Western Governments Should Agree to Include Prevention, Treatment

A proposed international treaty to address the damaging effects of mercury should include specific provisions to protect the health of children and other vulnerable populations, Human Rights Watch said today. Governments are to meet in Geneva beginning…
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Mercury is an ancient metal rich in history, cloaked with mystery and power. It is liquid at room temperature, with a beautiful silver hue. The metal is used in industrial production, in medical and cosmetic products, and in small-scale gold mining.…