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90th Pre-Session

This submission focuses on the impact of lead pollution on children’s rights and the right to education, and particularly relates to articles 24, 28, and 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It updates and complements Human Rights Watch’s…
News

UN Experts Urge Full Clean-Up; Candidates Should Address Kabwe Issue

(Lusaka) – Zambia’s next government should urgently clean up lead pollution that has affected the health of tens of thousands of children and adults in the city of Kabwe, six organizations said today, following the publication of a United Nations…
Former Mine Pit in Kabwe, Zambia
News

Climate action plans have to include measures to redress women disproportionately affected by deforestation and plantation expansion.

On a rainy day in April 2018, I rode a small speedboat along the Kapuas River in West Kalimantan province, Indonesia, headed for three tidal swamp villages, whose residents had protested against the expansion of oil palm plantations on their farmland and…
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News
Government financial support for fossil fuels, including through subsidies, presents a key obstacle to achieving emissions reductions urgently needed to address the climate crisis. Subsidies artificially reduce the costs of fossil fuel production and…
Pumpjacks at an oil well site near Epping, N.D., Oct. 1, 2018. © 2018 Jim Wilson/The New York Times/GDA via AP Images
News

Toxic Legacy from Kabwe Mine Needs Action by Governments, Donors, Companies

This June 5 is World Environment Day, which kicks off the “United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration”. Ecosystem restoration is about preventing, halting and reversing environmental damage. It is  hugely important  globally…
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(Jakarta, June 3, 2021) – The harm a palm oil plantation in western Kalimantan, Indonesia, is causing to the surrounding communities and the environment demonstrates the government’s failure to enforce its own policies and laws, Human Rights Watch said in…
Report
Summary Peatlands are the largest terrestrial carbon store on earth, storing more carbon than all other vegetation types in the world combined. But once peatland is destroyed it releases carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas driving climate change,…
News

Government Fails to Protect Affected Communities, Environment

(Jakarta) – The harm a palm oil plantation in western Kalimantan, Indonesia, is causing to the surrounding communities and the environment demonstrates the government’s failure to enforce its own policies and laws, Human Rights Watch said in a report…
A child carries palm kernels collected from the ground across a creek at an oil palm plantation in Sumatra, Indonesia, November 2017.
News

Massive Omnibus Bill Passed With Little Public Consultation

(Jakarta) – Indonesia’s government should revise a new jobs law to meet international human rights standards, Human Rights Watch said today. The omnibus bill on job creation, which the House of Representatives passed on October 5, 2020, restricts…
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News
“Where will we go looking for land? There isn’t any land left,” Elisabeth, a 24-year-old mother of four, asked me in 2016. She, along with other rural residents of the Serenje district of Zambia’s Central Province, was displaced seven years ago — some…
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News

Criminal Defamation Has Chilling Effect on Media Freedom

(Jakarta) – The Indonesian police in South Kalimantan province should drop criminal defamation charges against a blogger for articles in which he interviewed indigenous Dayak leaders about a land dispute with an oil palm plantation, Human Rights Watch…
On May 4, 2020, the South Kalimantan police arrested and detained blogger Diananta Putra Sumedi (left) in Banjarmasin, charging him with online defamation, which carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison. 
News

Group’s Video Appeal for Government Clean-up and Healthcare

A new video just published by Zambian environmental activists confirms Human Rights Watch’s research on how a former industrial lead mine in their hometown of Kabwe has left a legacy of severe lead contamination. The youth activists, who work with…
Former Mine Pit in Kabwe, Zambia
News

International Lead Poisoning Week Highlights Need for Action

I met “David” and his brothers in the dusty township of Chowa in Kabwe. David, eight years old, is thin and small for his age. Sitting in their yard, his grandfather described his worries about David. He has problems in…
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News

Golfrid Siregar Helped to Protect Sumatra’s Rainforests, Villagers

(Jakarta) – Indonesian authorities should immediately and impartially investigate the death of an environmental lawyer, Golfrid Siregar, in Medan, North Sumatra, Human Rights Watch said today. After midnight on October 3, 2019, a pedicab…
Golfrid Siregar (left),  an environmental lawyer, died on October 6, 2019 three days after his unconscious body was found in Medan, North Sumatra.
News

Submission by Human Rights Watch to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

  Human Rights Watch appreciates the opportunity to provide a submission to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on children’s right to a healthy environment, in advance of its 2020 annual full-day meeting on the same topic…
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News
“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
News
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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