12,000 CHILDREN IN THE KATANGA MINES OF DR CONGO

August 18, 2014 OPINION/NEWS

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By

Sylvain Muyali

The Non Governmental Organisation ‘Reseau Femme et Developpement’ / ‘Network of Women in Development’ (REFED) has announced that there are over 12,000 children working in the 43 artisanal mine sites of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and have called for  their immediate removal. An awareness campaign to discourage children and pregnant women from undertaking mining careers was launched in Kalemie, DRC by REFED on August 15 2014.

 

The NGO will liaise with the appropriate authorities to encourage them to take action against child labour in the mines.

 

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The head of REFED, Bernadette Kapend Mwambu deplores the presence of pregnant women and nursing mothers in mining careers. She argues that pregnant women are at considerable risk by working in the mines, citing in particular the risk of giving birth to children with certain birth defects.  She also stated “We all strive for the strict ban on the presence of children and their use in artisanal mining squares”, believing that the use of children in mines is a violation of their rights and “destruction of their health and whole life.”

Present at the launch of this campaign, the representative of District Commissioner of Tanganyika and the Head of Gender, Family and Children both promised to support the work of the NGO.

For his part, Senator Admiral Kabamba in parliamentary recess in Kalemie said that artisanal mining of minerals accounted for “more disadvantages than advantages.” For him, only the industrial exploitation of minerals can generate wealth.

REFED did not specify the duration of the campaign that they hope raises awareness against the presence of children in mines.

 

 

sylvain muyali

 

Sylvain Muyali

Sylvain Muyali is a Journalist, Photographer and Filmmaker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has reported previously for the Associated Press and his words and images can also be found at ‘Vivons Positivement

 

 

 

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