Archive | Mining Child and Slave Labour – Historical and Current

Thomson Reuters Foundation Investigation | Child workers trapped in mica mines – by Nita Bhalla, Anuradha Nagaraj and Rina Chandran (Thomson Reuters Foundation/Hindustan Times – August 3, 2016)

http://www.hindustantimes.com/

In the depths of India’s illegal mica mines, where children as young as five work alongside adults, lurks a dark, hidden secret — the cover-up of child deaths with seven killed in the past two months, a Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation has revealed.

Investigations over three months in the major mica producing states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh found child labour rife, with small hands ideal to pick and sort the valued mineral that puts the sparkle in cosmetics and car paint.

But interviews with workers and local communities discovered children were not only risking their health by working in abandoned “ghost” mines off official radars, but they were dying in the unregulated, crumbling mines, with seven killed since June. Continue Reading →

‘Fireflies In The Abyss’ Is A Sobering Look At The Lives Of Meghalaya Coal Miners – by Suprateek Chatterjee (HuffPost India – July 7, 2016)

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/

Filmmaker Chandrashekhar Reddy recalls the first time he stepped inside a coal mining pit. It was in mid-2012, near Lad Rymbai, Meghalaya. It was pitch-black, of course, and he could feel the oxygen levels falling as he descended down a slippery wooden ladder, terrified that he might fall off.

When he got to the bottom, he realised he lacked the flexibility to actually navigate the tunnels, the so-called ‘rat holes’, which are barely big enough for a fully grown adult to crawl through. “I had to be put in a cart and wheeled around in turns by some of the other men working there,” he said, in a conversation with HuffPost India.
“Despite the lack of oxygen, I saw some of them smoking in there, which, from my knowledge, is quite dangerous, as every mining activity results in the release of methane, which is flammable.” Continue Reading →

Lacking proof, Mitsubishi unwilling to apologize to Canadian POWs [Mine slave labour] – by Iain Marlow (Globe and Mail – July 24, 2015)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

On Christmas morning, 1944, 23-year-old Corporal George Peterson of the Winnipeg Grenadiers was told by his Japanese guards that he wouldn’t have to go down the Mitsubishi-owned coal mine that day.

Mr. Peterson, who had already spent three grueling years as a prisoner of war, said it looked as though the POWs were about to get a break from the slave-like working conditions. The guards first dragged out a fir tree, then brought out extra food for the famished prisoners, including riceballs and beer.

“They lined us up behind the table and took a picture,” says Mr. Peterson, now 94. But then “they said we could go back down the mine. … When we came up from the mine at about 5 p.m., the guards were laughing at us, saying the food was pretty good. We laughed right back, because we were trying not to let them know how much it hurt.”

Nearly 70 years after the end of the Second World War, Mitsubishi Materials Corp. has begun to issue historic apologies to POWs – but it has not yet apologized to Canadians. Continue Reading →

Mitsubishi Materials apologizes for using U.S. POWs as slave labor – by Mariko Lochridge (Reuters U.S. – July 20, 2015)

http://www.reuters.com/

LOS ANGELES – Construction company Mitsubishi Materials Corp (5711.T) became the first major Japanese company to apologize for using captured American soldiers as slave laborers during World War Two, offering remorse on Sunday for “the tragic events in our past.”

A company representative offered the apology on behalf of its predecessor, Mitsubishi Mining Co, at a special ceremony at a Los Angeles museum.

“Today we apologize remorsefully for the tragic events in our past,” Mitsubishi Materials Senior Executive Officer Hikaru Kimura told an audience at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

In all, about 12,000 American prisoners of war were put into forced labor by the Japanese government and private companies seeking to fill a wartime labor shortage, of whom more than 1,100 died, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, an associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Six prisoner-of-war camps in Japan were linked to the Mitsubishi conglomerate during the war, and they held 2,041 prisoners, more than 1,000 of whom were American, according to nonprofit research center Asia Policy Point. Continue Reading →