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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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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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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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“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,…
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Human Rights Watch Responds to Government’s Denials

The Malian government should take immediate action to address child labor in mining instead of denying it, Human Rights Watch said today.  Human Rights Watch published an in-depth report on the issue in December 2011, but Malian authorities…
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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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Mercury is present in many areas - such as gold mining, industrial production, coal burning and dental medicine – and therefore needs to be regulated across the globe, insists campaigner Aminata D. is a self-confident, energetic 11-year-old girl who…
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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.…
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Industry should seek to end child labor in unregulated gold mines

In Tanzania, I met "Julius", a boy of about 13, who works in an artisanal gold mine. He told me he digs ore in pits more than 15 metres deep and mixes toxic mercury with ground ore to retrieve the gold. Once a pit collapsed and almost killed another boy,…
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Public Health Strategies Needed in Treaty to Address Toxic Threat

(Punta del Este, Uruguay) – Negotiations for an international treaty to limit the use of mercury should seek to protect the health rights of artisanal gold mining communities, Human Rights Watch said today, in advance of a new round of meetings on the…
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Children working in dangerous conditions in Mali's gold mines don't stand a chance if companies shun rights initiative

Children working in dangerous conditions in Mali's gold mines don't stand a chance if companies shun rights initiative Aminata* is 11 and has never been to school. While other children learn to read, write and add up, Aminata works in an artisanal gold…
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January 30, 2012   Ministère des Mines M. Amadou Cissé Bamako - Mali   Dear Minister, We are writing to welcome your Ministry’s initiative to organize a government mission to investigate the prevalence of child labor in Mali’s artisanal gold mines. The…