ECLT Foundation News
Facts on Modern Slavery: a global problem
December 2, 2017
Geneva – 1 December 2017 – With over 40 million men, women and children in modern slavery according to the most recent ILO estimates, slavery is not a thing of the past. There are slaves working on every continent, in every country, in all types of industries and even in people’s homes.
Modern slavery affects children and rural communities around the world, with 11% of victims working in agriculture and fishing. The ECLT Foundation is committed to engaging communities, governments, unions and companies for collaborative solutions to promote education for children and decent work for adults.
This International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, it is important to see that modern slavery is more present that many people realise.
- Modern slavery includes forced labour, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, debt bondage and forced marriage. Anyone who is forced to work or marry and cannot refuse or leave is a victim of modern slavery. Most victims (71%) are women, many in forced domestic work or marriages.
- 1 in every 4 modern slavery victims are children. Children are found in every type of slavery from labour to sex trafficking to forced marriage. The youngest victim of forced marriage from the most recent ILO statistics was 9 years old.
- Profits from modern slavery per victim are higher in developed economies. In 2014, the EU and other developed economies made an estimated $46.9 Billion USD in profits from modern slavery. In contrast, Africa is the region with the highest rate of modern slavery, with 7.6 victims per 1,000 people.
- Slavery is also imposed by governments, not only by businesses or individuals. The latest estimates state that over 4 million people are slaves in State labour at any given time. This work can last a few weeks to a few years.
Like child labour, modern slavery has complex root causes including poverty, conflict and crisis, cultural perspectives and lack of protective safeguards and legislation. Understanding the immense scope of the problem is a first step, but strong commitments from governments, employers, workers and civil society are crucial to getting victims out of slavery and ensuring that they have decent work.
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13 Years of IMPACT: Working against Child Labour in Kyrgyzstan
November 28, 2017
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – 28 November 2017 – Since January 2005, Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco (ECLT) Foundation together with its partner, the Alliance for the Protection of Children’s Rights (APCR), has reached over 40,000 people through five projects in the Nookat and Alabuka Districts of southwestern Kyrgyzstan to address child labour in rural communities where tobacco is grown.
The projects focused on withdrawing children from working in the fields, expanding their access to vocational training, supporting families with microloans and helping them form or join existing cooperatives so parents can hire more adult labour or agricultural machinery and reduce their need for child labour. ECLT’s involvement in the elimination of child labour in Kyrgyzstan first started in 2003, when the Agricultural Workers Union reported the widespread use of child labour in agriculture, including in tobacco growing.
Since 2013, and through ECLT’s IMPACT Project and partnerships:
- 10,370 children were withdrawn from labour and enrolled in school;
- 1,200 children benefited from after-school programmes;
- 1,900 teenagers graduated from vocational training;
- 18,200 people were trained on child labour issues;
- 4,900 parents benefited from microloans; and
- $2.5 millionUSD was invested to fight child labour since 2005.
For the past two years, ECLT has funded the IMPACT Project’s “Sustainability Phase” to support farmers during their transition from tobacco, resulting from the 2015 departure of several major tobacco companies, which ceased their operations in the country due to the global market’s low demand for the duibek leaf variety grown in Kyrgyzstan. Notably, tobacco production has steadily decreased in the country over the past several years, compared to the volumes produced during Soviet times.
The end of the Sustainability Phase effectively concludes ECLT’s presence in Kyrgyzstan. To mark its 13 years of efforts to end child labour, a formal Closure Ceremony was organised in Bishkek on 28 November 2017 with project partners and stakeholders, including representatives from the national and local government, trade unions and beneficiaries. The event also included the presentation of the independent study results, which assessed ECLT’s approach and impact between 2005 and 2017. The study revealed a reduction in child labour in tobacco growing, an improvement in farmers’ purchasing power thanks to microcredits and a better understanding of children’s rights and the dangers of child labour among children and their communities.
During the ceremony, the ECLT Foundation officially handed over the ownership of the microloan fund, worth a total of $540,000USD, to the APCR. ECLT’s Programme Manager, Karima Jambulatova, shared: “Despite closing our activities in Kyrgyzstan, by leaving the microloan fund with the Alliance for the Protection of Children’s Rights, we rest assured that it will continue benefitting current and former tobacco farmers’ households, improving their access to microfinance and ensuring that children are not used for labour.”
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Exploring Effective Remedy to Rights Violations at UN Forum
Geneva – 27 November 2017 – More than 2,000 leaders from business, government and civil society will join forces to find solutions to the challenges faces in integrating human rights throughout business practices from 27 to 29 November at the UN Forum for Business and Human Rights in Geneva. With a long-term focus on developing sustainable opportunities for farmers and families living in rural communities where tobacco is grown, the ECLT Foundation recognises the importance of keeping human rights high on the agenda of businesses and governments, fostering collaboration and sharing practices proven to be effective.
This year’s Forum focuses on ensuring access to effective remedy, which is the third pillar of the “Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework” of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Though remedy has received significant focus in the past few years, there is still need to assess what efforts are effective, identify gaps and involve stakeholders like business, governments, unions and civil society, to improve situations faced by workers and communities further and faster.
— The ECLT Foundation (@ECLTFoundation) November 27, 2017
The first day of the Forum featured important conversations including an opening session on how to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the UNGPs, aiming to ensure an integrated and sustainable approach that goes beyond traditional views of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. Caroline Rees from Shift suggested that businesses and governments need to look at the SDGs in the same way for people-related issues as they do for those relating to the environment, improving current actions and policies rather than jumping to look for innovation without building a strong base.
The importance of multi-stakeholder engagement was highlighted in a case study on Malawi Tea 2020, a coalition bringing together the tea sector, unions, Government and civil society towards improving the situation faced by tea workers and communities. The ECLT Foundation is committed to finding collaborative solutions for improving lives in agricultural communities and welcomes the work done by Malawi Tea 2020 moving towards systemic change for farmers and their families.
The ECLT Foundation will continue to follow key sessions relating to ensuring the rights of children, farmers and families and creating shared value in agricultural supply chains. A live cast of selected sessions can be viewed online at the OHCHR website.
For more information:
Phone: +41 (0) 22 306 14 44
Ensuring rights and standards on farms
November 24, 2017
Geneva – 23 November 2017 – On 15th November 2017, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published an article highlighting the Sustainable Tobacco Program (STP), an industry-wide standard which, among other things, prohibits all children under 18 from handling green tobacco on farms. The HRW article rightly lauded the STP as a policy that promises to protect millions of children from Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS), but the STP’s value goes much further as a programme to put international legal human rights guidelines and conventions into practice.
Tools like the STP and the ECLT Members’ Pledge of Commitment and Minimum Requirements (Pledge) on combatting child labour, are important for companies to ensure that they uphold international human rights standards throughout their supply chains. In practice, the STP builds on and complements the ECLT Members’ Pledge. The Pledge is a commitment and it provides a framework for ECLT members to align, reinforce and, where necessary, strengthen their policies and practices against child labour. The STP, which is facilitated by the independent supply chain management company AB Sustain, can be considered a standard that operationalises the commitment of companies to end child labour in tobacco sourcing, as well as address other issues related to sustainability and human rights.
The main strength of the STP and the Pledge is that they are both anchored in international standards, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the ILO Fundamental Conventions and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. As endorsed in the UNGPs, the underlying objective of both the STP and the Pledge is continuous improvement, meaning that companies commit to progressively improve practices, work to address any gaps and provide remedy when violations occur.
Translating these international standards into concrete practice is a cyclical process, as we see from resources like the newly-released second edition of the UN Global Compact’s Supply Chain Sustainability: a Practical Guide for Continuous Improvement. Aligning best practices within sectors, like through the ECLT Member’s Pledge and the STP, as well as sharing between sectors can help companies make sustainable progress faster, ultimately benefiting workers, families and communities.
The ECLT Foundation looks forward to the upcoming UN Forum on Business and Human Rights focusing on “Realizing Access to Effective Remedy.” This year’s Forum will be an important opportunity to share good practices and challenges on taking action when rights violations occur despite commitments like the Pledge and programmes like STP.
For more information:
Phone: +41 (0) 22 306 14 44
#KidsTakeOver today and everyday
November 21, 2017
20 November 2017 – Geneva – Twenty eight years after the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), there are still 152 million children trapped in child labour according to the latest ILO statistics. Today, November 20th, is World Children’s Day and the anniversary of the adoption of the CRC, the most widely accepted international human rights treaty in history, which guarantees every child’s fundamental rights to be healthy, protected from exploitation and access education.
Based on the rights enshrined in the CRC, the ECLT Foundation works with children, communities, businesses and governments to fight child labour sustainably in agricultural communities where tobacco is grown.
This year, UNICEF and organisations around the world are raising awareness and supporting children to “taking over” key roles in media, politics and entertainment. But how can we go beyond this day-long #KidsTakeOver and prepare children for when it is their time to take over as parents and leaders in their communities and beyond?
Education and job-skills training can give children and young people the tools they need get out of child labour and get ahead. Everyday, the ECLT Foundation supports children like Aidah, who dropped out of school at the age of 15 when she got pregnant and worked as a single teen mother in tobacco gardens to support herself and her baby. Through ECLT’s work in Uganda, Aidah was given an opportunity to learn tailoring and garment cutting. Today, at 18 years old, Aidah has her own tailoring business and is able to meet her and her baby’s needs, as well as support her 11 siblings.
Stories like Aidah’s show the power of giving children and young people the skills they need to find decent work. ECLT is committed to combatting the root causes of child labour, like poverty and lack of access to education, working together from local to international levels for sustainable change. Last week, the ECLT Foundation joined over 3,000 leaders from governments, the UN, trade unions, employers and communities at the IV Global Conference on the Sustainable Eradication of Child Labour where a new declaration was adopted almost 100 pledges for action were made. This World Children’s Day, let’s build on this momentum to ensure that children can and do “take over” not just today, but as they grow into the leaders of tomorrow.
For more information: email@example.com
ECLT Welcomes New Director, David Hammond
November 17, 2017
The ECLT Foundation is pleased to announce that David Hammond has joined the Foundation as the new Executive Director as of October 2017. David brings a wealth of practical and managerial experience in human rights, public international law, international development and responsible business practices. Under his direction the ECLT Foundation will chart a new course to transform and increase the impact of our work globally.
“We’re delighted to welcome David as our new Executive Director to lead the next strategic phase for ECLT. David has an unusual background with many achievements and significant contributions to the lives of others,” said Kirsty Green-Mann, Vice President of the ECLT Board. “We’re confident that David will bring a new energy and perspective to ECLT, helping to further impact and focus and ultimately the life opportunities for young people and children in agricultural communities.”
A non-practising English Barrister, former military seafarer and retired Royal Marines’ Officer, David founded the leading organisation for maritime human rights, ‘Human Rights at Sea’, in 2014. He has published extensively on business and human rights and other public international, human rights, maritime and criminal law matters. His work has been recognised by UK Government, the UN and European institutions for which he has various worked for, and alongside.
David confirmed his commitment to leading the Foundation, saying, “At the beginning of a new period of growth and transformation, I greatly look forward to leading the ECLT Foundation, and prioritising the transparency and impact of our work at all levels against child labour, to bring about sustainable change for children and their families in tobacco-growing communities.”
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Child labourers call for promotion of decent work and skills training
November 15, 2017
Child labourers are calling for support “to better address family poverty to ensure that their parents and caregivers have access to decent work, good livelihoods, services, and assistance,” according to the “Time to Talk” study, a global consultation of over 1,800 children from 36 countries that are currently or were previously involved in child labour.
The main findings of this landmark study were presented at the IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where it was the only child participation element in this international event. The ECLT Foundation strongly supports children’s legal right to be consulted about matters that affect them. The Foundation is proud to have participated in the study through projects in Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania.
“Working children usually are not asked about their perspectives, their reasons and dreams although participation of children is a right to every child.” said Anne Jacob, child rights expert of the Kindernothilfe and project manager of the Time to Talk campaign.
While children strongly condemned exploitative, harmful and dangerous work, according to the study, they also saw positive aspects of employment when it does not interfere with their education and allows them to learn skills for their future. This supports a nuanced approach to tackling child labour and promoting decent work, which goes beyond blanket prohibition of all employment activities. Vocational training and apprenticeship programmes are essential tools that allow children of legal working age to gain professional skills in a safe and supervised environment.
Taking children’s views into account is a priority in shaping programmatic work on the ground and strengthening policy at national and international levels. The ECLT Foundation remains committed to bringing all actors together, including children themselves, to develop collaborative, sustainable solutions to fight child labour in agricultural communities where tobacco is grown.
ILO to develop strategy to address decent work in tobacco
November 10, 2017
For Immediate Release
9 November 2017 – Geneva – The International Labour Organization (ILO) Governing Body has concluded the discussion regarding the collaboration between the organisation and the tobacco industry, calling on the Director-General to develop “an integrated ILO strategy to address decent work deficits in the tobacco sector” while “taking into account all views expressed in the current session.”
The integrated strategy, to be developed and presented at the Governing Body session in March 2018, will have significant impact on the realisation of the legal and human rights of the children and families of more than 40 million tobacco farmers in over 120 countries worldwide. (more…)
Malawi employers’ position on ILO cooperation with the tobacco sector and PPPs on child labour
November 4, 2017
The following statement was published by the Employers Consultative Association of Malawi to the ILO Governing body in advance of the vote regarding cooperation with the tobacco industry in the pursuit of the Organization’s social mandate:
We are aware of the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which requires Parties to protect public health policies on tobacco control from the commercial interests of the tobacco industry. We are also aware of the ECOSOC Resolution E/2017/L.21 on the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, which encourages UN agencies, “as appropriate and in line with their respective mandates, to develop and implement their own policies on preventing tobacco industry interference” of public health policies on tobacco control. We welcome the ILO’s decision to discuss the issue of ILO cooperation with the tobacco industry at the 331st session of the Governing Body to be held in November 2017.
Malawi Congress of Trade Unions Statement to the ILO Governing Body
November 1, 2017
The following statement was published by the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions to the ILO Governing body in advance of the vote regarding cooperation with the tobacco industry in the pursuit of the Organization’s social mandate:
STATEMENT FROM THE MALAWI CONGRESS OF TRADE UNIONS (MCTU) REGARDING AN OPEN LETTER AUTHORED BY RAPHAEL SANDRAM, THE GENERAL SECRETARY FOR TOBACCO AND ALLIED WORKERS UNION, DATED 29TH SEPTEMBER, 2017 TO ILO GOVERNING BODY
The Malawi Congress of Trade Unions wishes to distance itself from the contents of the letter circulated by MCTU`s affiliate, Tobacco & Allied Workers Union of Malawi (TOAWUM), addressing members of the ILO Governing Body, in which the letter states that TOAWUM demands that ILO stops its cooperation with the tobacco industry and the letter is urging all ILO member states of the Governing Body to stand with TOAWUM against ILO instituting cooperation and Public Private Partnerships with the tobacco industry at the upcoming 331st session of the Governing Body.