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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

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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News

To the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association

Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to provide input on the challenges and risks facing climate defenders for the upcoming report by the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. While recognizing that…
Activists from mining communities protesting at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on August 24, 2018, KwaZulu-Natal © 2018 Rob Symons
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

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

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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News

Effective Cleanup, Health Services Desperately Needed Near Former Lead Mine

(Johannesburg) – Lead exposure around a former lead and zinc mine in Zambia is having disastrous effects on children’s health, Human Rights Watch said today. The Zambian government should promptly clean up the…
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Report
  Summary More than one third of the population of Kabwe, Zambia— over 76,000 people—live in lead-contaminated townships. Studies estimate that half of the children in these areas have elevated blood lead levels that warrant medical treatment…
News
A new treaty to deepen the link between environmental protection and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean has the potential to reduce the conflicts that lead to the murders of so many environmental defenders in the region.  The…
Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “
News

Entitled to Consultation on Communal Ownership

  (Washington, DC) – A draft law before the Antigua and Barbuda Senate would deprive Barbudans of communal land where they have lived for generations, Human Rights Watch said today. The Antigua and Barbuda government should consult with the…
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News

Philippines Rights Commission Examines Impact of Corporate Emissions

“Will this be our fate – just to count the victims of climate change or be counted among them?” Those words open a petition filed with the Philippine Commission on Human Rights after one of the most powerful typhoons on…
A fisherman paddles his banca amidst ruins of house stilts destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan on a coastal village in Tacloban city in central Philippines November 2, 2015.
News

Commercial Farmers Abusing Rural People’s Rights

As activists and policymakers from across the globe gather in Washington D.C. for the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, it’s a good time to reflect on how commercial agriculture leaves peasants landless in Zambia. Esther M. (not…
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News
Every few years, a journalist flies to Zambia to write an article about Kabwe, “the world’s most toxic town.” For more than a century, Kabwe was home to an enormous lead smelting plant that belched its dust into the air and poisoned the soil…
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News

Poor Government Oversight Enables Forced Evictions

(Lusaka) – The Zambian government is failing to protect the rights of rural residents displaced by large commercial farms in Serenje district, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Some commercial farmers have acquired thousands of…
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