Governments Should Sign, Ratify Mercury Treaty
Governments around the world should sign and ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and take immediate steps to reduce mercury pollution. Human Rights Watch sent its letters to countries with artisanal gold mining and to all others, including donor countries, in advance of a diplomatic conference for countries to sign the international treaty, from October 7 to 11, 2013, in Japan. For the treaty to go into force, at least 50 countries must sign.
Mercury is a highly toxic liquid metal that attacks the central nervous system and remains in the environment for long periods of time. Communities are exposed to the effects of mercury through air, soil, and water. Artisanal gold mining uses the largest amount of mercury worldwide. Every day millions of adult and child gold miners around the world work with mercury, putting them at risk of long-term disability and death.
Photo: Children work in an artisanal gold mine, Kéniéba cercle, Mali.
© International Labour Organization/IPEC, 2010
Governments Should Sign, Ratify Mercury Treaty

Governments around the world should sign and ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and take immediate steps to reduce mercury pollution. Human Rights Watch sent its letters to countries with artisanal gold mining and to all others, including donor countries, in advance of a diplomatic conference for countries to sign the international treaty, from October 7 to 11, 2013, in Japan. For the treaty to go into force, at least 50 countries must sign.

Mercury is a highly toxic liquid metal that attacks the central nervous system and remains in the environment for long periods of time. Communities are exposed to the effects of mercury through air, soil, and water. Artisanal gold mining uses the largest amount of mercury worldwide. Every day millions of adult and child gold miners around the world work with mercury, putting them at risk of long-term disability and death.

Photo: Children work in an artisanal gold mine, Kéniéba cercle, Mali.