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Groundbreaking Mercury Treaty Takes Effect

Prompt Action Needed to Protect People, Environment from Toxic Substance

Wednesday 16 August 2017


(Geneva) – The United Nations Minamata Convention on Mercury, which went into effect on August 16, 2017, could benefit millions of people affected by toxic mercury, Human Rights Watch said today. Under the treaty, governments are obligated to protect their citizens from the harmful effects of mercury and to put in place controls in polluting industries, such as artisanal and small-scale gold mining and coal-fired power plants.
Mercury, a shiny liquid metal, attacks the central nervous system, can result in lifelong disability, and is very harmful to children. It can be lethal in higher doses.Human Rights Watch has done extensive research and multimedia work on the use of mercury and child labor in small-scale gold mining. For access to stills and footage on this subject, please see: 
Philippines: Children Risk Death to Dig and Dive For GoldGhana: Child Labor Fuels Gold Supply ChainTanzania: Hazardous Life of Child Gold MinersGhana: Mine Accident Highlights Risk to Children

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