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Guinea’s September 5 coup sent shock waves through both West Africa and global commodities markets. Guinea is the world’s second largest producer of bauxite, the ore needed to produce aluminum, and has rich iron ore, gold, and diamond reserves. The…
A woman in Lansanayah, a village 750 meters from a bauxite mine owned by La Société Minière de Boké consortium.
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Forcing Parental Involvement in Abortion Violates Rights

A law in the US state of Illinois that forces people under 18 to involve an adult family member in their abortion decision is failing some of the state’s young people and violating their human rights. In a new joint report with the American Civil…
An illustration of scales imposed over a woman's torso
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All over the world, gold and diamond mining are risky operations, and sometimes people and the environment are harmed in the process. For over a decade, Human Rights Watch has documented child labor, environmental destruction, and violence by government…
A pearl necklace is displayed over a gray sign that reads "Mikimoto"
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In the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Gold Sector Should Re-assess Human Rights Impacts

The COVID-19 pandemic has had unprecedented impacts on gold supply chains, creating risks that should prompt companies to reassess their supply chains for emerging human rights impacts.  Small-scale mining operations across Africa, Asia, and…
Gold nuggets being weighed by a gold trader
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Last July, I spoke with Sky H., a 20-year–old who identifies as non-binary and grew up in a very conservative rural town in the Black Belt region of Alabama. In school, Sky received abstinence-only…
Desks in an empty classroom
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When President Jair Bolsonaro presented a draft bill to Congress, on February 5, to regulate mining, hydroelectric power projects, and other commercial enterprises in Indigenous territories, he recognized that it would “face pressure…
Krimej indigenous Chief Kadjyre Kayapo, looks out at a path created by loggers, in Altamira, Para state, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019.
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When Abba M. learned that a sexual partner had exposed her to the human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV, she did “a bunch of Googling.” The 21-year-old Alabama resident knew very little about it. Turning to her friends proved…
A billboard by the Alabama Department of Public Health in Eutaw, Greene County, raises awareness of recommended adolescent vaccines, including the HPV vaccine.
News
  In 2020, you should be watching for a growing trend of national legislatures requiring companies to live up to their responsibilities to workers, communities, and the environment. Millions of adults and children around the world suffer…
Children pan for gold
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What does it mean to be a human rights voter? Support candidates who want the government to adopt and enforce laws that promote and protect human rights. This means candidates who defend people from abusive systems, officials, individuals, and…
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In late 2018, Sierra Leone's First Lady, Fatima Bio, opened a national campaign "Hands Off Our Girls."   Her campaign made big promises to reduce child marriages and teenage pregnancies in the country, in part to tackle the…
“Angela,” 20, walks with her son near her home after returning from school in Migori county, western Kenya
News

What Trump's Deregulation Crusade Really Means for Mining Communities

As a candidate, Donald Trump promised that he'd shake up the economy to benefit "the forgotten man." But his economic policies have included deregulation in ways that can harm the very people he promised to help. The repeal on September 12 of a…
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“Henry” is thin and small for his age. The 10-year-old, his mum and I are sitting outside in the dusty, poor township of Waya in the Zambian city of Kabwe on a hot, dry afternoon. His mum, looking weary, describes their life…
Former Mine Pit in Kabwe, Zambia
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Years have passed, but Kasuba* still remembers when she was tested for lead as a child of about 8. The World Health Organisation says that there is no safe level of lead exposure. But the amount of the metal in Kasuba’s blood was up to…
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News

Being Outside is a Health Risk for Some of Zambia’s Children

How did you first become aware of the problem in Kabwe? We learned about it from an environmental group several years ago but became interested in doing our own research after seeing a young person from Kabwe speak at a United Nations event.…
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News

Left Destitute and Sick, Communities Defy Police Abuse and Threats to Assert their Rights

What changes for a community once a mine starts operating? Most mining in South Africa takes place in rural areas, where people live off the land and their livestock. Mining often forces people to leave the land they use for farming and grazing…
Coal mine in Somkhele viewed from Ocilwane village in Fuleni, KwaZulu-Natal. © 2018 Rob Symons
News
Georgia’s newly adopted law on labour safety is lacking statutes on workers’ rights due a narrow definition of safety — working hours, overtime payment, and required breaks are still not sufficiently regulated. Due to such weak edicts, worker fatalities…
© 2017 Human Rights Watch
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The House Natural Resources Committee has a new item on its oversight agenda. On Feb. 12, it asked the Interior Department to hand over all documents relating to its decision to cancel a half-completed study examining the potential…
Mountaintop removal mine on Coal Mountain in Wyoming County, West Virginia
News

Swiss Council of States to Decide on Binding Human Rights Protection in Supply Chains

In the coming weeks, Switzerland’s Council of States has a big decision to take: should Swiss companies be required to introduce human rights and environmental safeguards for their global actions? This month, prompted by pressure from a…
A boy and a girl work in a small gold mine in Amansie West district, Ghana.