Sunday December 10th is International Human Rights Day. A day on which we urge businesses to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights and to realize inclusive value chain development.
Because too often human rights are still being violated, for example when it comes to child labor in value chains. A tour around the world in which we present some of our projects targeting this issue.
In Indonesia, ICCO lobbies for children’s rights in the palm oil industry. Together with our local partner PKPA, we selected ten villages near palm oil plantations to start implementing the Child Right Business Principles (CRBP) based on the United Nations Guiding Principles. Palm oil companies now talk to the local communities about Child and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSSR), focusing on child welfare, lack of children's facilities, and access to schools.
Blog: Palm oil company takes first steps towards implementing child rights
In India, ICCO is working on Child Labor Free Zones. These are specific areas, such as a village, plantation, urban neighborhood or an industrial cluster, where everyone is convinced that ‘No child should be working, every child should be in school’. Teachers, local authorities, village leaders, employers, parents and children in these zones work together to get children out of work and into school. Child labor is no longer accepted, because all children are entitled to good, full-time education.
Child labour free zones in India (pdf)
The goal of the ‘Child at Risk Lifeline’ program from ICCO in Ghana is to eliminate child trafficking among the coastal fishing communities of Lake Volta. From here, children are trafficked into the fishing industry for forced labor. One of the root causes is the lack of adequate income and decent jobs, which force parents to initiate their children into the fishing industry. ICCO and its partner Challenging Heights advocate on behalf of the children. Challenging Heights runs a safe house where more than 500 boys and girls have received education, nutritious meals, medical care and therapy since 2011.
Project: Child at risk lifeline
The ‘Down to Zero’ alliance combats commercial sexual exploitation of children. Although in Colombia there are policies to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children, they are not yet put into practice. A positive development is that the private sector makes progress by working on the development of laws in relation to sexual exploitation in the tourism industry. Also the mining sector works on solutions for commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Project: Down to Zero Colombia
In Muhuru Bay, a town in Nyanza Province of Kenya situated on the banks of Lake Victoria, children prefer to go fishing and get some money instead of going to school. Though some children say that they sell the fish to be able to buy books and uniforms for school, they work with their parents to bring more food in the household.
ICCO is involved in building the capacity of civil society and other partners to combat child labor. The project promotes child protection campaigns by ensuring that all children engaged in child labor are removed and placed back into the education system. The program has also established mechanisms to promote children’s participation in education policy and implementation. A child labor committee was established to sensitize the community in understanding the importance of formal education for the children. They were able to get uniforms and school fees for some of children.
Doing Responsible Business: practical roadmap now available
To assist Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) respecting human rights in their operations we developed a practical guide: Roadmap Doing Responsible Business. With this guide, SMEs sourcing internationally, can make their chain sustainable and reduce the risk to have a negative impact on human rights.