Help against the worst forms of socio-economic exploitation of women, girls and children in the mining zone of Kamituga in South Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Véronique BULAYA
Posted November 11, 2019 from Democratic Republic of the Congo

The results of PIFEVA 2019 research in the mining area of ​​Kamituga on the situation of violations of workers' rights in the mining zone indicate that state agents and private employers do not respect the rights of these workers who are women. , children and men in violation of both national and international standards for the protection of workers' rights. The latter are exploited economically by their employers with impunity in the form of forced labor to which men and women are subjected as well as children, not to mention rapes committed against women.

Indeed, at the extractive activities level, women perform different tasks. There are twangaises, those who grind the sand and the stones of the ores manually in metal mortars, these women earn more or less 1 to 2 dollars per day and they are subject to multiple taxes without a receipt. This mainly female activity is the largest on the Kamituga site in South Kivu and most of the women who perform this activity in this area are military women who work under surveillance of their husbands or cohabitants and currently there is a tension of mistrust that reigns between these women of the military and those of the civilians. We also find women carrying sand and stones that even exceed their weight and often with babies at once, from the extraction site to the grinding site and women Hydraulics who carry water to cool the crushers, these women are often victims of abortions and infections. Working in the wash stations, located in small streams there are also thoughtful women who prepare the crushed sands to be washed by wetting them with water to make mud and women washers who then perform washing the sand. As for the Bizalu women, they recover the rubbish from the sand, make it crushed by the Twangaises, wash the sand again and sell the gold they extract from it, they are often obliged to give their sexes to the diggers in return for the waste.

Few women are CEOs, that is, well owners, and those who are are represented by a man who acts as well manager. Others are souteneuses that is to say the one that supports the activities of a well during the period of hard work related to the digging these women are often victim of fraud.

Women are involved in a variety of activities, ranging from small traders to restaurant owners and others who produce and sell local alcoholic beverages. The practice of prostitution is common as a source of complementary income. Women prostitutes are nicknamed diggers without spades. And some women are also engaged in agriculture. Uses and customs take precedence over national human rights laws in mining squares, which has a detrimental effect on the lives of women and girls. Many women suffer from multiple forms of gender-based violence and sexual violence, including rape, forced marriage and prostitution of under-age girls. The sites we visited have no support structure for women and girls who are victims of violence; there is no police service, let alone special police for women and children. There are a large number of single mothers left alone.

Finally, extreme poverty and widespread ignorance of human rights lead some women with many children to sell their daughters to diggers for a pittance equivalent to two cartons of cigarettes.

The persistence of socio-cultural constraints linked to the status of subordination of women to men hinders and devalues ​​women's participation in activities related to

artisanal mining of minerals, thereby limiting their economic empowerment. Women who work directly or indirectly in the mines do not control their income. Women face many abuses from men who contribute to their vulnerabilities. Women's labor is consistently under-valued relative to men for doing the same work in the mining squares. Body searches, even in women's vaginas, often in plain sight and torture, are often carried out by men at the end of women's shift to ensure that they do not hide. gold under the clothes. Men's scams and cunning are also widely used as means to discriminate against women. This is the environment where the practice of credit is commonplace, however it is often done to the detriment of women, men pay their debts hard once the work is completed or simply do not pay and this, as much for women who offer goods and services only to those who work directly in extraction.

Faced with this dramatic context, the NGO PIFEVA is seeking the necessary resources for the implementation of the project to strengthen respect for the rights of workers, women and children in the extractive gold industry in Kamituga in the territory of Mwenga, province of South Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The objective of this project is to contribute to the promotion and respect of good practices in the field of security and human rights, in particular the rights of workers, women and children exploited in Kamituga gold mining. in South Kivu east of DR Congo.

This story was submitted in response to #IStandWithHer.

Comments 5

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Anita Shrestha
Nov 11
Nov 11

Dear Sis
Best wishes for your initiation

Lisbeth
Nov 12
Nov 12

Dear Vero,
It's sad to hear the current happenings in your country. Are these minning companies legal or illegal institute? If they are legal can not the perpetrators be made to face the full rigor of the law?
And are the authorities aware of these events? Have they taken any actions to solve it?
Thanks for sharing, it's rather unfortunate.
Regards

Jill Langhus
Nov 13
Nov 13

Hello Dear Véronique,

Good luck with your story submission:-) Keep spreading awareness around this issue, please!

XX

lizzymark
Nov 13
Nov 13

Thanks for speaking up,as we continue to raise our voices such discrimination will stop. Weldon

Hello, Veronique,

I'm glad that you submitted this entry to the Call for Stories. Thanks for raising awareness and being the voice of these women and girls working in the mining area. Keep it up!