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Friday,November 27,2020 14:46 PM

Govt sued over safety of miners

By Barbra Kabahumuza

Added 27th August 2020 10:22 PM

According to the documents, the Government has abdicated its duty by failing to come up with a national action plan to eliminate the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

Govt sued over safety of miners

The organisation says the persons working in mines are exposed to dangerous chemicals such as mercury during washing and consolidation.

According to the documents, the Government has abdicated its duty by failing to come up with a national action plan to eliminate the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

COURT|MINING|WOMEN

The Government has been dragged to court by the Centre for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) for allegedly failing to protect women in artisanal mines.

CEFROHT alongside its programme manager for social justice and strategic litigation, Geoffrey Derrick Obbo, filed the suit at the Civil Division of the High Court.

The complainants are seeking a declaration that the respondent's failure to protect and fulfil artisanal miners' right to work under satisfactory, safe and healthy conditions violates their rights under article (40)(1)a,C(4) of the Constitution.

The organisation says the persons working in mines are exposed to dangerous chemicals such as mercury during washing and consolidation.

Abdication of duty

According to the documents, the Government has abdicated its duty by failing to come up with a national action plan to eliminate the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

"The respondent's omissions are a violation and threaten several institutional guarantees for which the applicants are seeking declarations, orders and redress," reads part of the court documents.

In their affidavit, Obbo says there are several gold mines in districts of Uganda such as in Mubende, Namayingo, Kassanda, Busia, Buhweju and Moroto. All of them are artisanal gold mines.

The applicants say the gold miners dig deep underground tunnels that are over 100ft to 700ft long in an effort to extract gold. They say the tunnels are dug without any engineering knowledge or expertise and, therefore, this exposes the miners to risk of the tunnel caving in.

He wants an order that the respondent makes regulations that specifically promote and protect the right to occupational safety and health of miners. They also want an order that compels the Government to develop and pass a comprehensive National Action Plan on the elimination of the use of mercury in artisanal mines within two months of the court's decision.

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