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A Secret Look at Mogok Ruby Mining in Burma

2009 04 19 - 4689 - Washington DC - Natural Hi...Image by thisisbossi via Flickr90% of the world's rubies come from Burma (Myanmar) in a region called Mogok. It's known for rare pigeon's blood rubies, blue sapphires and other gemstones.

Foreigners are not allowed there. No wonder as the military regime's disregard for human rights and downright cruelty knows no bounds (see my past post about Burma's Blood Rubies).

Al-Jazeera secretly filmed the goings-on in this area. The network recently released footage showing the forced labor and exploitation of small children as young as 4. It's very sad to see a youngster wielding a mallet instead of playing with a toy.

The video mentions how the workers are paid a pittance - less than a dollar a day. Yet, Burma earned an estimated $1.67 billion in 2010 from gem sales and that is despite sanctions by the US, Canada and the EU. That's because most of Burma's trading partners are actually other Asian countries who have not joined the embargo.

The sanctions are aimed at the ruling junta not the people of Burma but unless they are broad-based, the abuses will go on under cover of even greater security.


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  1. Thanks for the post, hopefully this will bring to light the injustice and help towards correcting the situation. I am afraid the world is often helpless unless change comes from within.

  2. It's a strange feeling to watch that video. You see these beautiful jewels and that's exciting, but watching the people work like that is so sad....not being compensated...well, how horrible.
    Thanks Pearl for the post.

  3. There are far too many injustices in this world and unfortunately most of them are due to mankind's own greed. I've often wonder why we are called mankind as there are times when man is anything but kind.

  4. Thank you so much for this post, and bringing some more awareness to the issue.

  5. I never knew there WAS an issue. Sad, and rubies are so beautiful!


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