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Showing posts from May 9, 2013

Child miners: India's crying shame

Thousands face death, alcoholism and rising crime while eking out a dangerous livelihood in eastern state of Jharkhand.

Jharkhand, India - Every morning at the crack of dawn, 13-year-old Sagar Kujur joins many others of his age and even younger to trudge towards the coal pits of Ramgarh in Jharkhand, a state in eastern India.

Armed with shovels and cane baskets, they tip-toe over the jagged surface, settle down in a corner and start digging a hole through rocks of solid coal. A few back-breaking hours later, their baskets fill up with pieces of coal that had been chipped away, and they hurry to the nearest market to sell their day’s treasure.

Children like Kujur, blackened with coal dust, serve as daily reminders to the dark secrets of the 15,000-odd coal mines in the state.

Jharkhand is mineral-rich, but a majority of its people is dirt poor. As in the rest of India where, according to UNICEF, some 28 million children work to supplement their families’ meagre income, 400,000 children a…

'Eritrea jails 10,000 political prisoners'

Amnesty International says ex-rebel government jails at least 10,000 political prisoners to 'silence dissent'.

Eritrea's hardline regime has jailed at least 10,000 political prisoners, many in "unimaginably atrocious conditions", rights group Amnesty International said in a report.

With political opposition banned, independent media quashed and religious minorities targeted, the ex-rebel government uses a system of underground cells and shipping containers to house the prisoners, the report released on Thursday said.

"The government has systematically used arbitrary arrest and detention without charge to crush all opposition, to silence all dissent, and to punish anyone who refuses to comply with the repressive restrictions it places on people's lives," said Claire Beston, Amnesty's Eritrea researcher.

The report says "at least 10,000" prisoners have "disappeared into secret and incommunicado detention" in the Horn of Africa n…