Ghana: Human Rights Watch denounces use of child labour in unlicensed mines

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Article
12 June 2015

Ghana: Gold refiners should act on child labour, says HRW researcher

Author: Juliane Kippenberg, Human Rights Watch

"Dispatches: Ghana: Gold Refiners Should Act On Child Labor", 12 June 2015:...Mining is one of the most hazardous types of child labor, yet Ghana and many other countries have large numbers of children working in the sector...The International Labour Organization estimates that about one million children work in artisanal mining...International gold refiners hold significant power in the supply chain, as fewer than 20 companies refine most of the world's gold...Human Rights Watch found that several international refiners that source from Ghana...have not implemented sufficient measures to ensure that gold mined by children doesn't enter their supply chains...But some companies are taking important steps in the right direction...Guidance by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recommends specific measures that companies should put in place to ensure they do not contribute to human rights violations...in conflict areas. Refiners should take a leading role in making these principles a reality...[Refers to Metalor, Kaloti, Kundan, Precious Minerals Marketing Company,Produits Artistiques Métaux Précieux (PAMP)]

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Article
10 June 2015

Ghana: Child Labor Taints Gold Supply Chain

Author: Human Rights Watch

International gold refiners who use gold from Ghana may be benefitting from hazardous child labor in unlicensed mines, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today... The refiners should take immediate steps to eliminate child labor in their supply chains. The...report, “Precious Metal, Cheap Labor: Child Labor and Corporate Responsibility in Ghana’s Artisanal Gold Mines,” documents the use of child labor in Ghana’s artisanal, or unlicensed, mines, where most mining takes place... “...Ghana’s unlicensed gold mines are very dangerous places where no child should work,” said Juliane Kippenberg, senior children rights researcher at Human Rights Watch... Children have been injured – and, in at least one case, killed – in mine collapses... They also risk brain damage and other life-long disabilities from mercury poisoning... Human Rights Watch examined the “due diligence” policies and procedures of six international refiners that buy gold from Ghana: Metalor...Produits Artistiques Métaux Précieux (PAMP)...Kaloti Jewellery International...Emirates Gold...Kundan...and Rand Refinery... Several of them have weaknesses... Human Rights Watch provided its findings to the companies and received written responses from MetalorKaloti, PAMP, and Rand Refinery, which stopped buying gold from Ghana in 2014... [also refers to Precious Metals Marketing Company]

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Article
9 June 2015

Ghana accused of using child labour in mines

Author: Al Jazeera (Qatar)

Human Rights Watch…estimate[s]…that thousands of children, mostly between the ages of 15 and 17…work…in perilous conditions [in Ghana’s artisanal mines]…Ghana's Children's Act prohibits mining work for anyone under the age of 18. However, lax enforcement…and a lack of systematic inspections have led to continued child labour within the mining industry…[H]azardous conditions have led to a number of injuries, respiratory problems, pain and one death…[C]hildren also risk brain damage and other life-long disabilities from mercury poisoning…Most of the children…work…to cover school-related costs. Many attend school irregularly and…eventually drop out…Three of Ghana's largest gold exporting companies said they had at times bought gold that could not be traced back to its origin. Only one said it bought…exclusively from licensed mines…HRW…[urged] the Ghanaian government…[to] undertake fundamental reforms to…the artisanal and small-scale mining sector…

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