On Thursday, July 26, the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) organized, in collaboration with Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF) and as part of the Somos Tesoro project, a workshop with coal miners and potters from the municipality of Sogamoso, Gámeza, Mongua, Tópaga (Boyacá, Colombia), and representatives from the gold mines of Segovia and Remedios (Antioquia, Colombia).
 Pottery is the art or trade of making pots and other wares out of fired earth. In addition to making earth wares, Boyacá potters also extract sand and clay to craft these items.
During the event, the ICBF introduced the 2017-2027 Line of public policy for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor and the Integral Protection of the Teenage Worker (Línea de política pública para la Prevención y Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil y la Protección Integral al Adolescente Trabajador 2017-2027) to miners and potters, as well as the new hazardous work resolution (resolution 1796 of 2018 of the Ministry of Labor). In addition, it presented the “Guide for a mining industry free from child labor” recently published by ARM (with the support of the ICBF, the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Mines), and panel discussions were organized, in which miners and potters could ask specific questions to the ICBF about aspects related to child labor. Questions made by the attendees included asking what to do when a family with children lives in the vicinity of a mine and what the responsibilities of persons in charge of miners are when their providers make use of child labor.
Lastly, the persons participating in the workshop signed a “Declaration by Colombian miners for a country free from child labor” as a way to raise their voice against child labor. You can read this declaration below, which was written based on the knowledge and learnings obtained in the land after 5 years of the Somos Tesoro project.
Declaration by Colombian miners for a country free from child labor:
- We, the miners of the Colombian municipalities of Sogamoso, Tópaga, Mongua, Gámeza, Segovia and Remedios, have gathered together on this July 26 of 2018 in the city of Sogamoso, Boyacá, to discuss essential aspects for the reduction of child labor.
- We have taken note that, according to the DANE, 796,000 children and teenagers work in Colombia, many of which do so in the mining sector.
- We acknowledge that the 1991 Political Constitution of Colombia outlines the fundamental rights that children and teenagers enjoy, which include the right to be protected against all forms of labor or economic exploitation.
- We acknowledge that the Childhood and Adolescence Code, Law 1098 of 2006, establishes the lowest working age at 15 years of age (with the exception of artistic, cultural, entertainment and sports activities, subject to authorization), and 18 years for activities that, due to their nature or conditions, are hazardous to the physical and psychological health and integrity.
- We acknowledge that the 1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1989 Conventions on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Colombia, include children’s and teenagers’ rights to be protected against the performance of any hazardous work that may hamper their education, or be hazardous to their health or their mental, physical, spiritual, moral or social development.
- We acknowledge that conventions 138 and 182 of the ILO, ratified by Colombia, establish 15 years of age as the minimum working age, and 18 years as the minimum working age for the worst forms of child labor.
- We acknowledge that child labor, in particular in its worst forms, generally constitutes a human rights violation, and to the rights of children in particular, which is the cause of poverty, discrimination, social exclusion, inequality, and hampers access to education.
- We underscore that reducing child labor is a duty of the citizenship, and requires the effective application of the legal framework in effect.
- We reaffirm the role of miners in the development of the country, and the need to carry out a responsible, exemplary mining activity, free from child labor.