Human Rights Watch Urges Tanzanian Government and World Bank to Address Child Labor in Mines

August 28, 2013 3:51 pm0 comments by:

Dar Es Salaam –Human Rights Watch is calling upon the government of Tanzania and international agencies, like the World Bank to address the issue of child labor in Mines.

Human Rights Watch in a report released today says children as young as eight-years-old are working in Tanzanian small-scale gold mines, with grave risks to their health and lives.

Human Rights Watch says the Tanzanian government should curb child labor in small-scale mining, including at informal, unlicensed mines, and the World Bank and donor countries should support these efforts.

The 96-page report, “Toxic Toil: Child Labor and Mercury Exposure in Tanzania’s Small-Scale Gold Mines,” describes how thousands of children work in licensed and unlicensed small-scale gold mines in Tanzania, Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer.

They dig and drill in deep, unstable pits, work underground for shifts of up to 24 hours, and transport and crush heavy bags of gold ore.

Children risk injury from pit collapses and accidents with tools, as well as long-term health damage from exposure to mercury, breathing dust, and carrying heavy loads.

A 17-year-old boy who survived a pit accident told Human Rights Watch, “I thought I was dead, I was so frightened.”

Activists React

“Civil Society Organizations must step in, and bring lawsuits, against the government of Tanzania, so that it can act, to protect the environment and the lives of the miners” Dr. Rugemeleza Nshala a leading environmental activist, in Tanzania told The Continent Observer

Dr. Nshala calls upon civil society organizations to demand that the parliamentary committee on environment conducts public hearing before any company is giving license to operate a mine.

Tanzania’s nascent mine industry is pledged by accusations of child labor and hazardous working environment

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