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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…
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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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Civil Society Participation Key to Success at UN Climate Talks

At this month’s virtual climate negotiations several United Nations officials and governments highlighted the importance of civil society participation in climate action. Yet at the summit’s plenary session, time ran out before civil society…
Residents and environmental activists on Lamu island, Kenya, protest the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project on March 1, 2012.  © 2012 Reuters/Joseph Okanga
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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…
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Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the UDHR at COP24

Today, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, governments at the climate summit COP24 in Poland are working around the clock to finalize the Paris “Rulebook” – the regulations that will guide the…
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News

Denials Come in Wake of New Law That Restricts Protest Rights

When I traveled to Poland to attend the United Nations climate conference yesterday, I passed through immigration without any problems. But not all representatives of civil society groups participating in the negotiations have been that lucky.…
Women climate change activists demand respect for rights at Paris Agreement signing ceremony outside the United Nations in New York, April 2016.
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. “
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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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News
As this month’s climate talks in Germany come to an end, some participants are feeling a little queasy. Environmental activists and indigenous peoples worry about their ability to actively participate in the annual UN climate talks, in Katowice,…
Women climate change activists demand respect for rights at Paris Agreement signing ceremony outside the United Nations in New York, April 2016.