Dismantle legal gangs operating Amazon mines, UN tells Venezuela

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Some gold, diamond and bauxite mines within the Venezuelan Amazon are managed by legal teams that exploit, beat and even kill staff, a United Nations investigation has discovered.
Venezuelan safety and army forces have failed in stopping crimes and, in actual fact, have participated in among the violence in opposition to the miners, the UN human rights workplace mentioned in a report (PDF) on Wednesday. “Despite the considerable presence of security and military forces in the region … authorities have failed to investigate and prosecute human rights violations, and abuses and crimes linked to mining,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet mentioned in a press release. 200109221911542 “Authorities should take immediate steps to end labour and sexual exploitation, child labour and human trafficking, and should dismantle criminal groups controlling mining activities,” she added. “They must also investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for human rights violations, abuses and crimes.”
Her deputy, Nada Al-Nashif, will current the report on Wednesday to the Human Rights Council, the place Venezuela’s ambassador Jorge Valero is predicted to talk.
There was no rapid response from Venezuela, one of many UN physique’s 47 members. #Venezuela: People working within the #ArcoMinero del Orinoco area are caught up in a context of labour exploitation and excessive ranges of violence by legal teams that management the mines within the space, together with who enters & who leaves – 🆕 report. Learn extra: https://t.co/20ySk8b213 pic.twitter.com/YI1PGKoZhA
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) July 15, 2020 ‘Clandestine graves’
The UN report, referring to an space often called the Orinoco Mining Arc (AMO), mentioned: “Much of the mining exercise inside and past AMO is managed by organised legal teams or armed components. “They determine who enters and leaves the area, impose rules … and gain economic benefit from all activity within the mining area, including through extortion in exchange for protection.” 200427135553733 Nearly 150 women and men are reported to have died in or across the mines since March 2016, with safety forces implicated in half the incidents, it mentioned, including that the federal government had not replied to its request for info. “According to accounts received … bodies of miners are often thrown into old mining pits used as clandestine graves,” it mentioned.
The miners, who embody younger youngsters, usually are not given employment contracts and are uncovered to mercury contamination and malaria, the report mentioned.
It known as for the federal government of President Nicolas Maduro to regularise mining actions and be certain that they meet worldwide authorized and environmental requirements.
Created by a authorities decree in 2016, AMO – an space of some 111,000 sq km (42,800 sq. miles) within the Venezuelan Amazon – makes up 12 p.c of the nationwide territory. Gold, diamonds, coltan, iron and bauxite are mined there.
The Maduro authorities has supported small-scale mining to usher in income amid an financial disaster. Operations expanded after the US elevated sanctions meant to pressure him from energy.
Venezuela’s central financial institution has not revealed knowledge since 2018 on gold and different mineral exports, their vacation spot or overseas forex earnings, the report mentioned.
Criminal teams have turn out to be extra lively since concessions for overseas mining firms have been terminated in 2011, the report mentioned. SOURCE: Al Jazeera and information businesses

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