Rihanna et al. posing for the camera


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New Delhi: International pop star Rihanna, who created a stir in India by tweeting in support of the protesting farmers, is now under the scanner of the National Commission For Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) for allegedly using mica from Indian mines — where “child labourers work in dire conditions” — in her cosmetics brand ‘Fenty Beauty’.

NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanoongo told The Print they are looking into the matter and “would do the needful”.

This comes after the NCPCR received a complaint Friday from NGO Legal Rights Observatory (LRO). 

The complaint, a copy of which is with ThePrint, said, “As per reports, US pop star Rihanna’s beauty product ‘Fenty Beauty’ uses blood mica from Jharkhand in which child labourers work in dire conditions.”

“To ascertain that the mica is free of child labour, there are certificate agencies. But media reports say that Fenty Beauty don’t have supply chain clearance certification (SCCC) from either of the two.”

Demanding an investigation into the matter, the LRO said, “With this letter, we would like to request you to investigate whether Fenty Beauty is using uncertified mica and if true then please start appropriate penal action against the company and its owners.”

Kanoongo said the NCPCR has sought response and clarification from the industry body, Responsible Mica Initiative (RMI). 

“We have received a response on email from RMI that the supply chain that provides mica to Fenty Beauty is not registered with them,” he said.

Asked whether Rihanna has been served a notice, the NCPCR chairman said, “We haven’t sent any notices yet. We are looking into the matter. We are committed to do whatever is required for protection of child rights. So far, we have received this written response from RMI on our query.”

ThePrint reached the PR agency for Fenty Beauty via email for a comment. This report will be updated when they respond.

Also read: After Rihanna, Greta Thunberg supports farm protests, Kangana calls farmers ‘terrorists’

What is RMI?

The RMI is a global coalition for action to enable responsible and sustainable mica supply chain in India that is free of child labour. 

One of the key activities that it carries out is ‘Mica Supply Chain Mapping and Workplace Standards for Mica Collection and Processing’ for its members.

According to RMI’s official website, “Members must map the source of mica in their products to exporters, processors and mines in India.”

“Each member’s supply chain participant must then adopt workplace environment, health, safety and fair labour practices that include a prohibition on the use of child labour.”

According to RMI, India is the world’s largest source of mica, a mineral that is used in a wide range of industries. It is mined extensively in eastern Indian states of Bihar and Jharkhand where a variety of factors contribute to poor working conditions, including the use of child labour.

(The writer is research director with Delhi-based think tank Vichar Vinimay Kendra. He has authored two books on the RSS.)

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