CHILD LABOUR IN MINING INDUSTRIES

                            

“Human rights apply to all age groups, and children have the same fundamental human rights as adults. However, there are rights that only apply to children due to their unique needs and particular vulnerabilities”. – UNICEF[1]

Every human has a duty to protect human rights. The right flows from duties. It is the responsibility of the business enterprises to protect the rights of children working in their industry. Business should respect and protect the rights of children.  Business enterprise do infringe human rights, they do not pay sufficient attention to the risk that are exposed to child working in their industry. It is the responsibility of the industry to avoid the infringement of human rights. They must adopt the additional precautions for the safety of the workers and child. Hereby, United Nations instruments did elaborated further on the rights of indigenous people: national or ethnic, women, children, migrant workers and their families, religious and linguistic, people with disabilities.[2]

The concerns relating to Human Rights, Environment and Health have increased in the past several decades. Principle 1 of the Stockholm Declaration established a foundation for linking human rights, health, and environmental protection, declaring that:

“Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being”.

Millions of children are involved in child labour and are engaged in hazardous industries in agriculture, mining, the leather and apparel industry, and other sectors.  Mining affects child. While working in the mining industry, within a period of time there is a fall in their nutrition level which leads to malnutrition, increase in disease due to contamination of water, soil and air.  There is degeneration in the quality of life after mining starts due to environmental damage and pollution. Children’s nutrition has been seriously affected after working in the mining industry.  Children in mining areas are found to be vulnerable to water and air borne industries due to the pollution generates from mining industries. Environmental impacts of mining includes dust, erosion, adverse effects on ecology and biodiversity, and the contamination of soil, ground and surface water by chemicals from the mining process, including cyanide, arsenic, sulphuric acid, mercury and heavy metals. These environmental impacts have the potential to cause a variety of diseases in children including respiratory, skin and eye diseases. Children are more vulnerable to the localized environmental impacts of mining activity than adults – particularly water, air and soil pollution. Children may resort to drinking poor quality water, resulting in, for example, and diarrhoea Long-term viability of communities and children’s future in the affected area.

The International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights (16th Dec, 1966) which guarantees the Right to Safe and Healthy working conditions (Art- 7b). The Right to health contained in Article 12 of the Covenant expressly alls on the states parties to take steps for[3]

  • The improvement of all aspects of environmental and industrial hygiene.
  • The prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational, and other diseases.

Section 40 in The Mines Act, 1952- states thatno person below eighteen years of age shall be allowed to work in any mine[4].

The Children’s Rights and Business Principle covers all types of business. The principle regarding the mining sectors states-

Principle 1– Meet their responsibility to respect children’s rights and commit to supporting the human rights of children.

All companies, regardless of the sector, have a responsibility to respect human rights, including the rights of children. Mining activity can have adverse impacts on children that fall under the provisions of Principle 1.

Principle 2– Contribute to the elimination of child labour, including in all business activities and business relationships Large-scale industrial mines do not generally employ children. However, it is possible for large-scale mining to be linked to the use of child labour through the supply chain, particularly during construction, and through links to artisanal mining that uses child labour.

Children’s rights have been articulated separately in the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in order to protect the interests of the child and makes sure that children’s are not sacrificed in the interest of the larger community[5].

Role of National Human Rights Commission:

Commissions first and foremost concern is on ending the problem of child labour especially at hazardous Industries. In taking a stand for the provision of free and compulsory education for children up to the age of 14 year the commission in the landmark judgement delivered by the Supreme Court of India on 10th Dec, 1996; in the writ petition no: 465/1986 (civil case), M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu and Ors, and the commission ensured that the directions given in the judgement were implemented[6]. The members and the commission made sure that child labour is not prevalent, and monitored the states as well. And due to Commission’s continued efforts that education has today become a Fundamental Right for the children between the age group of 6 and 14 years vide 86th Amendment of the Constitution.

Suggestions:       

  1. A Proper implementation on welfare schemes made for children by the concerned authorities.
  2. Ngo can play a vital role in rehabilitation of child labourers
  3. Media always plays an important role to create awareness about laws.
  4. Media role can be played by local governments in controlling  child labour
  5. In schools with free education, monetary help in the form of scholarship should be provided to students of economically weaker families.

[1] https://www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/child-rights/

[2] United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, United Nations, New York and Geneva, 2011, pp. 13–14; available https://www.unglobalcompact.org/issues/human_rights/The_UN_SRSG_and_the_UN_Global_Compact.html

[3]https://www.academia.edu/11826391/PAPER_ON_HUMAN_RIGHTS_ISSUES_ON_ENVIRONMENT_PROTECTION

[4] https://www.saveusnow.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Human_Rights_Health_and_Environmental_Protection.pdf

[5] http://www.zela.org/child-rights-and-why-they-matter-in-environmental-justice-and-mining/

[6] http://indianresearchjournals.com/pdf/APJMMR/2013/September/9.pdf/

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE SAME, DO LET ME KNOW.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at secondinnings.hr@gmail.com

In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

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