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19 Jan 2013

Human Rights Watch

Mercury Treaty Will Help Protect Right to Health - But Governments Fail to Plan Phase-Out in Small-Scale Gold Mining

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...Juliane Kippenberg, senior children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch [said,] “Although this treaty is a historic development, governments could and should have done more to make health strategies mandatory.” Mercury is a highly toxic liquid metal. It attacks the central nervous system and is particularly harmful to children...The treaty addresses the use of mercury in artisanal gold mining, in various products and processes, and in emissions from industrial facilities, such as coal-fired power plants. It will be called the “Minamata Convention”...Children in particular are exposed to grave risks in artisanal mining...Human Rights Watch criticized the treaty for failing to address child labor, or to set an end-date for the phase-out of mercury in artisanal and small-scale mining.