India Committee of the Netherlands
+++ In solidarity with the oppressed in India +++


SUSTAINABLE STONE - DOSSIER INFORMATION & ARTICLES
2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - <2000
Sep 30, 2016:
Public Procurement and Human Rights in the Netherlands: the case of natural stone (International Learning Lab on Public Procurement and Human Rights):
Sandstone and granite are used for paving public spaces like streets and squares and for tiling walls and floors in public buildings like office blocks, train stations and airports. This makes public authorities important consumers of natural stone. Despite sustainable procurement policies, governments often opt for the cheapest stone, not taking into account human rights and environmental impacts in production countries.
Jun 7, 2016:
Mass health camp on silicosis in Budhpura (No Child Left Behind):
On the 27th of May, Manjari has organised a mass health camp to raise awareness on silicosis among workers in the sandstone industry and screen workers on the occupational disease. Silicosis is an incurable occupational lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust.
May 9, 2016:
In India's quarries, workers die to make pretty garden tiles (Thomson Reuters Foundation News):
Many workers in Indian stone quarries, including children, dying of incurable lung disease to produce garden and kitchen tiles.
May 4, 2016:
Labour talk: A dialogue in different tongues (The Times of India):
It was a session intended to foster a dialogue between different sections of society - mine workers, businessmen engaged in the stone business, NGOs and government agencies - to figure out how best to deal with the issue of child labour. The dialogue was an effort of NGO Aravali, in collaboration with Unicef.
Oct 27, 2015:
Jugend Eine Welt: Oft Kinderarbeit bei Billigimport-Grabsteinen (Erzdiözese Wien):
Hinter importierten Naturstein-Grabsteinen stecken oft schwere Menschenrechtsverletzungen wie Kinderarbeit oder Schuldknechtschaft: Darauf weist das Hilfswerk Jugend Eine Welt in Blick auf das nahende Allerheiligen- und Allerseelenfest. ... In Betrieben der chinesischen Steinindustrie könne Kinderarbeit weitgehend ausgeschlossen werden, während diese in Indien jedoch häufig vorkomme, verwies Jugend Eine Welt auf eine im Mai 2015 veröffentlichte Studie der Forschungsgruppe "Glocal Research" sowie des "India Committee of the Netherlands".
Jun 2015:
Zusammenfassung Rock Bottom - Modern Slavery and Child Labour in South Indian Granite Quarries (Lydia Nitschke):
Der Bericht Rock Bottom untersucht die Arbeitsbedingungen in 18 Granitsteinbrüchen in zwei südindischen Staaten, Tamil Nadu und Karnataka, die beide sowohl für den heimischen Markt als auch für den Exportmarkt produzieren.
May 18, 2015:
Katastrophale Arbeitsbedingungen in Südindiens Steinbrüchen (Xertifix):
Neue Studie von Stop Child Labour und India Committee of the Netherlands.
Die Studie über die Arbeit in Südindiens Steinbrüchen (Staaten: Tamil Nadu und Karnataka) hat ein weiteres Mal bestätigt, dass die Arbeitsbedingungen auch dort leider noch immer katastrophal sind. Kaum eine Rede davon, dass in Südindien die Arbeit so maschinisiert ist, dass kaum mit Verstößen gegen Arbeitsrechte zu rechnen ist. Im Gegenteil: In Karnataka wurden 10 Prozent Kinderarbeit in den Steinbrüchen festgestellt.
May 14, 2015:
One of every ten workers in Raichurís granite mines is a child (Scroll.in):
Even as the Cabinet approves stricter penalties for child labor violations, granite mines in Karnataka still employ a large number of children, many under the age of 14, to complete stone processing. A report titled Rock Bottom by the Netherlands-based non-government organisations India Committee of the Netherlands and Stop Child Labour, found that minors accounted for almost 10% of the total workforce in six quarries in stateís Raichur district.
May 11, 2015:
Modern slavery and child labour in Indian quarries: Stop Child Labour urges companies and government to take action (ICN/Stop Child Labour):
Modern slavery is widespread in Indian quarries. Child labour also occurs frequently. Most Dutch importers of Indian granite give no information from which quarries they are sourcing their granite or say they do not know from which quarries the stone comes from. This is the main outcome of the report Rock Bottom which is published by ICN in collaboration with Stop Child Labour.
Apr 6, 2015:
Amend Mines Act to contain silicosis: Rajasthan HRC: How many of the paving slabs for sale in Britain were cut by tiny hands? (The Hindu):
The Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has asked the government to take a fresh look at the Mines Act, 1952 to contain the alarming spread of occupational diseases and effectively deal with violators.
The commission has recommended the constitution of an independent agency with adequate powers to deal with all issues relating to occupational diseases and another panel to conduct studies and research.
Feb 16, 2015:
Children of the stone quarries: How many of the paving slabs for sale in Britain were cut by tiny hands? (Ethical Consumer):
Indian sandstone looks very similar to York stone, the traditional yellow building stone of the North of England. Over the last few decades many of our quarries have been coughing up their last pieces of stone, and Indian paving slabs have poured into the market as a cheap alternative.
But as the market has grown, so have concerns about the stoneís origins. Working conditions in the stone quarries of Rajasthan were first brought to Western attention in 2005 by a Dutch campaigning organisation called India Committee of the Netherlands, who published two shocking reports.
Feb 9, 2015:
Wet drilling in mines made mandatory (Hindustan Times):
Rajasthan has made wet drilling in mines mandatory from March 1, officials have said, as the state ramped up its fight against silicosis which has affected hundreds of people over the years. Officials said that mine-owners who fail to introduce wet drilling from next month will have their licences cancelled. JAIPUR: Rajasthan has made wet drilling in mines mandatory from March 1, officials have said, as the state ramped up its fight against silicosis which has affected hundreds of people over the years.
Feb 4, 2015:
Mine owners told to maintain record of all workers (The Times of India):
In a huge respite for workers in mines, the state government in a first-of-its-kind move has taken an in-principle decision making it mandatory for mine owners to maintain a record of all workers in their mines from March 1, 2015. Till now, no such record was being kept and as a fall out, mine workers could not avail benefits such as the Workmen Compensation Act.
2014
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Dec 2, 2014:
Report confirms high incidence of silicosis in Rajasthanís Dholpur (The Hindu):
For many mine workers here, it began as a respiratory problem. And most of them were diagnosed with tuberculosis. Only later it became known that it was silicosis ó an incurable disease caused by exposure to silica dust ó and not TB.
Dec 1, 2014:
Where dust brings death: Silicosis deaths in Rajasthan mines leave behind a trail of young widows (The Hindu):
The Karauli-Dholpur-Bharatpur mining belt in eastern Rajasthan, which produces the countryís best quality red sandstone, also has the largest number of young widows, most of them below 40 years.
The older ones were widowed some decades ago, and worse, young girls almost see their future unfold before them. The common link: they were married to miners who died of silicosis caused by inhaling of silica dust during mining or polishing.
Dec 1, 2014:
Beltrami & the fight against child labour in India (Beltrami B Magazine):
You have undoubtedly already seen images of sweatshops in India where young girls are forced to work in the textile sector. A phenomenon in India (and other developing countries) that is not only limited to girls but also extends to boys in other sectors. In our showroom customers ask me sometimes if thatís also the case with natural stone from India. A tough question that unfortunately has an equally tough answer: yes, it is possible that the well-known Kandla setts are cut by children aged 10-15 years.
Aug 17, 2014:
Silicosis swallows mine workers in Rajasthan (Business Standard):
For 10 years, Ghanshyam underwent treatment for tuberculosis (TB) as his persistent coughing and chest pain refused to go away. But in 2011, the stone quarry worker was told that he is in the last stages of silicosis - an insidious and incurable lung disease that has claimed the lives of many mine workers across Rajasthan.
Jul 26, 2014:
Debt Bondage in the Sandstone Quarries of Rajasthan (Economic and Political Weekly):
With both the government and business refusing to even acknowledge the existence of the practice of bonded labour in stone quarries of Rajasthan, quarry workers in the state, it seems, are committed to a life of servitude.
Jul 1, 2014:
Hazardous Work - All 14 mine workers diagnosed with silicosis (The Times of India):
The worst case of silicosis was uncovered when 14 out of 14 mine workers, who had been for a medical examination in Kota, were confirmed positive. The average age of these mine workers is 48 years. The figure is the highest percentage of confirmed cases of silicosis examined by the Pneumoconiosis Board. Sources said these persons will now be provided with monetary relief of Rs 1 lakh by the environmental board. However, till date not a single mine worker has been given compensation under the workmen compensation rules in absence of employment records.
2011
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Nov 4, 2011:
Granite and Other Stone: Where is stone produced with forced labour? (Verite.org):
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (2012), granite is produced with forced labor in Nigeria and with child labor in Benin, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Additionally, gravel (crushed stone) is produced with forced labor in Nigeria and with child labor in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Nigeria. Child labor is used in limestone production in Egypt and Paraguay and in pumice production in Nicaragua. Various stones are produced with forced and child labor in India and Nepal and with child labor in Madagascar and Zambia.
Jan 25, 2011:
Women in India Widowed and Forced To Work After Male Miners Contract Tuberculosis (Women's Revolution):
In the village of Majhera, located within the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, women belonging to the ancient Saharia tribe have lost their husbands to tuberculosis working in the illegal mining industry.
2010
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Jun 2010:
Mining and its effects on children, women, Adivasi and Dalits (ICN):
Reports recently released by Indian NGOs reveal the desperate situation for children and adults living and working in mining areas in India. Among them Dalits, Adivasi and women are the main victims. The report India's Childhood in the "Pits" published by HAQ, SAMATA and mines, minerals and People (mmP) shows that districts that are entirely dependent on mining have a lower literacy rate than the national average. The mortality rate of children under five years of age is higher. Child labour is rampant. GRAVIS has released the report Women Miners in Rajasthan, India. The report explores the harsh everyday life and work for female quarry workers in Rajasthan.
Apr 9, 2010:
We canít turn a blind eye: Child labour (Building.co.uk):
Children as young as six are working 12-hour days in some of Indiaís sandstone quarries. Yet many UK stone importers just donít want to know about it. Sophie Griffiths reports on a scandal that is getting harder to ignore.
Five years ago, a director of products supplier Marshalls happened on a report produced by the India Committee of the Netherlands, an organisation that aims to raise Western awareness of deprived groups in the Subcontinent. It listed details of how sandstone was quarried, in particular the widespread use of child labour. As part of a company that annually imports a large quantity of stone from India, Chris Harrop was startled. He set out to Rajasthan in north-west India, to investigate the conditions of workers in the quarries his company sourced its stone from. What he saw left him shaken.
2009
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Apr 2009:
The destruction of construction (InfoChangeIndia.org):
Half-a-million labourers are employed in the natural stone industry of Rajasthan alone, so itís impossible to calculate exactly how many people toil all over India to supply the stone, cement and bricks of the boom-time construction industry. Yet, India still clings to elementary methods of extraction using bonded labourers, many of them female and under 14, with absolutely no safeguards.
Mar 8, 2009:
Values carved in stone (BusinessRespect.net):
While TV documentaries focus on children working in textiles, an altogether tougher, more difficult issue gets little attention. Watch this - and you'll never buy paving for your patio or driveway without asking a few questions first.
2008
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Nov 1, 2008:
The truth about imported Indian sandstone (Marshalls):
The popularity of Indian sandstone is growing fast. But are the cheaper options really as attractive as they seem?
Sep/Oct 2008:
Managing ethical production in India (Aggregates Business Europe):
Demand for decorative paving in Europe means significant quantities are now sourced from India but production is not always managed ethically. Lisa Russell reports on how Marshalls has taken a stance to bring about change.
Feb 25, 2008:
Child labour: That garden stone, handmade carpet or embroidered T shirt you just bought was probably made by Child Labor (Forbes.com):
Jyothi Ramulla Naga is 4 feet tall. From sunup to sundown she is hunched over in the fields of a cottonseed farm in southern India, earning 20 cents an hour. Farmers in the Uyyalawada region process high-tech cottonseeds genetically engineered to contain a natural pesticide, on behalf of U.S. agriculture giant Monsanto.
2008:
Rich Lands Poor People: Is 'Sustainable' Mining Possible? (Centre for Science and Environment):
This book is an attempt to document all the complexities of mining. While, it is true that mining is essential, it is not a simple 'dig and sell' proposition for a country like India. Its challenges are immense. The book gives an overview of these challenges - protection and preservation of environment and inclusive development of all sections of society - and where does the Indian Mineral Industry stand today.
2007
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Nov 1, 2007:
A Code of conduct for the natural stone sector: A better way forward for the natural stone sector (Eldis):
In the last decade there has been a growing interest in the improvement of sustainability performance throughout supply chains. However, this report argues that sustainability standards for the quarrying and processing of natural stone and natural stone products in developing countries needs to be lifted to a higher level. Violations of basic labour rights still occur and good care for natural resources is not always considered. Although locally labour and environmental legislation may well be in place, compliance to and enforcement of such legislation may be lacking.
Nov 2007:
A Code of Conduct for the natural stone sector (Dutch Working Group on Sustainable Natural Stone):
Sustainability criteria to support supply chain responsibility throughout the chain.
Oct 2007:
Natural Stone - New brochure on code of conduct natural stone (Dutch Working Group on Sustainable Natural Stone):
Natural stone. A wonderful product. A product with many uses. Some examples? Floors, kitchen surfaces, memorial stones, paving and exterior cladding. The market for natural stone continues to grow, both in the Netherlands and internationally. Buyers value the quality of the material and the large variety of colours that are available. But do you also know where your natural stone comes from? Or under what circumstances the natural stone is produced and processed in its country of origin?
Sep 2007:
Silicosis - Educate, eliminate, eradicate (Discovering Stone):
Silicosis is one of the oldest occupational diseases known to man. Recognised since ancient times, this incurable lung disease caused by inhalation of dust containing free crystalline silica, is irreversible and the disease progresses even when exposure stops. Silicosis is preventable. However, it continues to pose a very real threat to some people on a daily basis and still kills thousands around the world every year.
May 8, 2007:
Scandal of the quarry children (Yorkshire Post):
In the average Indian quarry 20 per cent of the workforce is made up of child labour, some as young as six. We expose the shocking truth behind the cheap sandstone being exported to the UK and find out what one Yorkshire company is doing about it.
Apr 5, 2007:
A hard price to pay for stone floors (The Telegraph):
Quarried stone floors are in huge demand, but consumers seldom know the cost that may be borne by exploited child workers in India. Martin Baker speaks to a man trying to change an industry.
Mar 2007:
Is Indian sandstone morally acceptable? (Garden Design Journal):
Have you ever wondered why Indian sandstone is so cheap? It is often quarried at horrific social, economic and environmental cost. Louise Zass-Bangham reveals the issues and explains how we can ó and must ó change this situation through ethical sourcing.
Feb 13, 2007:
Between a rock and a hard place - how UK patios rely on child labour: Huge sandstone quarries are fuelling landscaping boom on the cheap (The Guardian):
In the blazing morning sun Naresh swings a hammer on to a square grey sandstone slab, his features focused on chipping away the rock until it is the length of his feet. Around the boy are crates of blocks, which are graded by texture and shape before being tied up into neat bundles.
Jan 4, 2007:
Costing The Earth: Stonebreakers (BBC Radio 4):
Natural stone is the thing to have in many homes and gardens these days. Granite is a particularly popular and stylish material for kitchen worktops and floors.
It looks good, itís easy to clean and is now very affordable thanks to foreign imports that have increased over the last decade. In the last five years alone, sales of Indian granite in Britain have risen from 1600 tonnes to 14,000 tonnes Ė thatís an eight fold increase.
2006
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Oct 2006:
'From quarry to graveyard' - The Dutch natural stone market and responsible business behaviour (Principled Profit):
Inhuman labour conditions and wide scale environmental damage are part and parcel of natural stone production in India. This is the message of the report "From quarry to graveyard - Corporate social responsibility in the natural stone sectorĒ published today by the India Committee of the Netherlands. The report describes the Dutch natural stone trade and details how Dutch companies and trade organisations are starting to take an interest in corporate social responsibility.
2005
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Aug 2, 2005:
UK Company Accused of Multiple Violations (Social Watch):
This week sees the launch of a major critical report on India's largest mining company, Vedanta Resources plc, based in London.
UK-based mining company, VEDANTA RESOURCES PLC, is today accused of multiple human rights and environmental violations at its operations in India. These include: Abusing the constitutional rights of tribal peoples; Contravening orders of Indiaís Supreme Court; Trespassing on protected forest land; Ignoring basic health, safety and environmental standards; Exploiting contract labour.
The evidence is contained in a detailed report just published by Nostromo Research and the India Resource Center. The publication is supported by Mines, Minerals and People (India), Social Watch Tamil Nadu, the Environmental Investigation Agency (UK), and the India Committee of the Netherlands, Corporate Accountability Desk (India), The Other Media, Chennai/New Delhi, FIMCOTN: Fisher Movements Coordination of Tamilnadu & Pondicherry, and Human Rights - Tamilnadu Initiative.
May 2005:
Jan 16, 2005:
"Ground Zero" for exploited Indian sandstone quarry workers (MinesAndCommunities.org):
A recent report - Budhpura Ground Zero - gives a shocking account of the inhuman living and working conditions of workers involved in sandstone quarrying in the state of Rajasthan in India. Child labour, bonded labour, exploitative wages, rampant occupational diseases like silicosis and bronchitus, alcoholism, as well as women's threathened livelihoods, are some of its main features.