Article by Human Rights Watch on the Digital newspaper
"L’Obs" on May 9th, 2016
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has published another article about child labour and its link to smart
phones and watches. This is about the children who work in artisanal and small-scale mines in Asia,
Africa, and Latin America. This is regrettably and even more that some of that work may be ending
up in the minerals that are used in smart phones and watches.
To showcase the situation, HRW mentions that in particular in Ghana, "traders bought gold from
unlicensed mines, where child labor was common, and sold it to export companies which had
insufficient safeguards in place to identify and filter out gold mined by children" According to HRW,
some of these companies exported gold to leading refineries, also in Switzerland, such as Metalor.
This statement is simply false and Metalor strongly rejects such allegation. This has repeatedly been communicated in writing by Metalor to HRW during 2015, but as usual this has been ignored by
this NGO. It is worth noting that HRW has not provided any factual information supporting its allegations.
Metalor is very much aware about child labour and it is committed to exclusively work with suppliers
that do respect human rights, including but not limited to the exclusion of child labour. This is clearly
stated in its Supply Chain Policy and implemented wherever Metalor sources metal from.
Furthermore, Metalor made the decision already in 2015 of not working anymore with artisanal mines
in Ghana, precisely because Metalor did not want to be exposed to the risk of child labour in its
supply chain. This is the situation today.
HRW talks in its article about a 7 years old child named Joshua that apparently works in a gold
mine surrounded by dust and noise from rock crushing machines while he shovel and pan gold ore.
This is not acceptable and it is a pity that Joshua is not at the school or simply playing and enjoying
life. However, Metalor is absolutely committed and certain that nothing of what Joshua may do at
that mine is ending up in the hands of our company, despite of the efforts of HRW to pretending
May, 11, 2016