Over the last months we have been developing a diagnosis of the labor and environmental conditions of artisanal and small scale mining in Antioquia´s Northeastern region. The most relevant findings have been the high levels of school desertion and serious environmental impacts because of mercury and cyanide contamination.
Because of the public order situation we have not yet begun to document our project with pictures; we hope that as our team is recognized by the people and trust is built we will be able to fully document what is happening in the region. The pictures attached to this report have been taken from online sources to depict the levels of environmental degradation and the conditions under which many miners work; (sources: Blog - Una Opinión Cruzada and www.hispano.com).
In the following months AMICHOCÓ will begin working with 5 small scale mining organizations to prepare them for the fair-trade fairmined certification and hopefully benefit over 500 men and women. Additionally, we will develop an action plan to tackle the forced labor and unfair labor conditions generated by the mining industry in these communities and we will try to built a network of support organizations to help potential and current victims.
So far we have done 3 field visits in which we met with the local authorities, ombudsman, community leaders and labor inspector. Our conclusion so far is that Antioquia´s Northeastern region is one of the most beautiful in the country, with its high mountains and green plains, but it is also one of the most vulnerablein social and environmental terms.
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