Jade trade in Myanmar thrives on exploitation, rights abuses

Author: Rajeshree Sisodia, The National [UAE], Published on: 29 September 2008

…Around 20,000 people from across Myanmar migrate or are forced to work for hundreds of [Imperial green jade] mine companies that operate in Hpakant…collecting the precious stone has become little more than a ticket to a life of exploitation, poverty and addiction...Forced and child labour, land confiscation, drug abuse, sexual exploitation and environmental damage have scarred the mining trade, according to human rights groups…Revenue from the lucrative trade filters straight to the junta, a government that spends about $330 million a year on arms but less than half that amount on education and health care combined. A…report, by EarthRights International (ERI)…points to 69 Chinese multinational corporations working with the junta on various multimillion-dollar projects…[and] reveals 10 Chinese firms are involved in six mining deals with the regime…

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