Multinational corporations must address their role in enabling child labour

Multinational corporations must address their role in enabling child labour

The use of child labour to supply multinational corporations is soaring. Thus, ImpACT International for Human Rights Policies is calling on corporations that rely on external suppliers to immediately recognise and investigate this issue, then take prompt action to redress this human rights violation.

"A case in point is the Ivory Coast, which supplies 45% of the global supply of cocoa beans to a variety of chocolate manufacturers,” Lara Hamidi, ImpACT International researcher declared at the 46th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC). “Children are employed in this low-paying, coerced labour, meaning that most of the world's chocolate is tainted by human rights violations.

Despite these clear violations of children's rights, multinational corporations continue to turn a blind eye to the labour practices in their overseas supply chains. Furthermore, “thousands of children have been smuggled into the Ivory Coast from neighbouring African countries to work in the agricultural industry.

Children are employed in this low-paying, coerced labour, meaning that most of the world's chocolate is tainted by human rights violations

“These children working on the cocoa plantations are forced to work for extended hours in unhygienic conditions while being fed insufficient food,” Hamidi said.

ImpACT International for Human Rights Policies is joining with the Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health (GIWEH) to urge the UNHRC to pressure member states that host multinational supply chain manufacturers, such as the Ivory Coast, to review their labour laws and ensure that private-sector companies comply. These states also should ensure the private sector respects the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Companies and states that neglect the issue of child labour must now take notice and address the exploitation of minors, protecting their basic right to freedom, education and safety.

 

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