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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. “
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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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Summary Our money is with [the owner], so he can decide to give us permission [to change jobs] or not. They hold all the power and we can’t do anything. –Sinuon Sao, Cambodian migrant on a fishing vessel, Mueang Rayong, Rayong,…
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Mercury Treaty to Enter Into Force

The fight against global toxic pollution has reached a critical milestone: the 50th country has ratified the United Nations Minamata Convention on Mercury, triggering its entry into force in August. Mercury is a shiny liquid…
A 12-year-old boy shows the mercury he carries in his trousers’ pockets for gold processing in Homase, Amansie Central district, Ashanti Region, Ghana.
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Toxic Metal Used in Small-Scale Gold Mining Especially Harmful to Children

People living in Ghana’s mining communities may now be better protected from deadly mercury poisoning. On March 23, Ghana ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury – a real step forward for communities affected by mercury pollution. Mercury, a…
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Last December, Human Rights Watch reported on serious lead poisoning in the small indigenous community of Klity Creek in western Thailand, caused by a badly regulated and now defunct lead processing factory upstream. In 2012, we reported on about 150…
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December 2014

Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to review the draft IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. Below are recommendations based on research conducted by Human Rights Watch in various countries. Human Rights Watch has carried out extensive research…
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Long ago, local villagers erected a sign beside a small cascade of the stream, calling the place "Waterfall of the daughter of the mountain". "Daughter of the mountain" is an old phrase to describe women from ethnic minorities. But when I visited in the…
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Confront Toxic Legacy Before Reopening Lead Mines

(Bangkok) – The Thai government has failed to clean up toxic lead in a stream in western Thailand, threatening hundreds of families with serious and irreversible health problems, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Supreme…
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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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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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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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Enforce Safety Standards, Prevent Child Labor in Artisanal Gold Mining

(Johannesburg) – A recent mining accident that killed 16 people at an unlicensed artisanal gold mine in Ghana underscores the need for tougher measures to end child labor and protect the safety of adult artisanal miners, Human Rights Watch said today.…