In the CAR, diamonds don’t make friends, they make child labour ...

World

In the CAR, diamonds don’t make friends, they make child labour and poverty

In a country with one of the world’s highest child labour rates, Covid-19 has forced more children into its mines

Antoine Rolland

Since the coronavirus forced his school to close in March, Papin has been working six days a week at a diamond mine in the Central African Republic (CAR) — hauling sacks of mud and rubble under a hot sun.

He is among a dozen children working at the open-pit mine near the southern town of Ngoto, where about 100 miners use shovels and sieves to scour the red earth for diamonds. It is back-breaking work and Papin longs to return to the classroom.

“I came here to help my big brother,” Papin, who said he was 16, but appeared younger, said as the site supervisor looked on, the few remaining trees offering little respite from the glare...

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