At least thirty people were killed, and several injured, when a mine collapsed in the northern parts of Afghanistan on 6 January.
Heavy snowfall caused a landslide which resulted in the mine caving in. 50 people were inside the tunnel when the incident occurred.
According to official reports, the victims were villagers mining for gold illegally, trying to increase their earnings during the cold winter.
Afghanistan’s mining industry has great potential but is currently riddled with illegal mining, often controlled by criminal networks. To counter that, Afghanistan’s government last year approved two contracts for the exploration of copper and gold deposits in several northern provinces.
In a letter to President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, IndustriALL Global Union is calling on the government of Afghanistan to ratify ILO Convention 176:
“We attach great importance to the adherence to and implementation of preventive measures in the framework of international standards, including ILO Convention 176 on Safety and Health in Mines.”
“Union power must be developed in the mining industry in Afghanistan. IndustriALL is willing to share our experience from working with our affiliated unions worldwide, to help improve working conditions in the mines,” says Valter Sanches, IndustriALL general secretary.