Last week, a special rapporteur investigating the use of mercury in small-scale gold mining and a UN fact-finding mission on Venezuela presented separate reports to the council on the impact of gold mining on many communities and the environment, particularly in the Amazon basin.
UN investigators cited human rights abuses such as sexual exploitation of women and children, mercury poisoning and child labour affecting communities where illegal gold production occurs, and pointed the finger at the responsibility of countries buying the metal.
The reports said global buyers such as Switzerland – through which roughly two-thirds of global trade transits – need to ensure that human rights are respected throughout supply chains.
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