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“Child abuse rampant in informal mining sector”

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Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) says while human rights defenders and other equally concerned stakeholders are busy concentrating on human rights violations in the formal mining sector, serious cases of child abuse are thriving in the informal sector.

In her reaction to the recently released Human Rights Watch report on mining in Malawi, MHRC Executive Secretary Grace Malera said somebody moving in most areas of the country would easily notice the hard times children are going through in sand and quarry mining.

“You see children that are involved in sand mining taking place along different rivers or even the breaking of the rocks for quarry, some as young as four years. We have a 2015 report where we have an expose of the informal mining sector and involvement of children in that industry,” Malera said.

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She said the human rights commission has done some studies in the mining sector being mindful that issues of business interests and human rights sometimes collide and need to be sorted out for the benefit of both the investors and the people affected.

Malera also said the human rights component should be included in the mining regulation framework to safeguard the rights of people involved in such activity.

A Human Rights Watch report on the mining industry in Malawi released last week revealed that rights of people in communities close to mining sites are being hugely violated.

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