Man held over child labor

On 10 January 2020 at 01:37

Police in Ngororero District have arrested a man identified as Jean Damascene Twabugabo, 37, for allegedly employing a minor in mining activities.

Twabugabo was arrested on Wednesday in Gatumba Sector after police found him employing an 11-year old boy to mine coltan and cassiterite in a concession located in Kamisiga Cell, Nyenyeri Village.

“At about 2 pm on Wednesday, Police responded to information about people who were mining illegally. Some of them run away but Police managed to arrest their boss—Twabugabo—and rescued the boy,” said Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kayigi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region.

“Besides being a minor, it was within the time when the boy was supposed to be at school. He is a pupil in Primary Four at Ecole Primaire Miduha. The boy was carrying soil from the concession to filter coltan and cassiterite in the nearby water stream. Twabugabo was paying the boy Rwf400 per day,” he explained.

“This is child exploitation, violation of child rights and a barrier to holistic child development, which is criminal and punishable by law.”

Article 6 of law No. 71/2018 of 31/08/2018 relating to the protection of the child defines a child as “any person under eighteen (18) years of age.”

Article 6 of the law regulating labor in Rwanda, prohibits subjecting a child below the age of 18 to any form of works, which are physically harmful to the child; work underground, underwater, at dangerous heights or in confined space; work with dangerous machinery, equipment, and tools or which involves manual handling or transport of heavy loads; work in an environment which exposes the child to temperatures, noise levels or vibrations damaging his/her health; work for longer hours or during the night or performed in confined spaces.

Law N° 58/2018 of 13/08/2018 on mining and quarry operations, stipulates that; "any person, who undertakes mineral or quarry exploration, exploitation, processing or trading without a license, commits an offence.

Upon conviction, he or she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than two months and not more than six months and a fine of not less than Rwf1 million and not more than Rwf5 million or only one of these penalties.

The court also orders confiscation of any seized minerals or quarry in storage, trading or processing without a license.

CIP Kayigi warned the public against unlawful mining activities and using minors in any activity that amounts to child labor, and called for information sharing on such illegal acts.