On 16-18 November took place the 4th Annual United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights , some 2’000 participants from governments, business, the investment community, NGOs and academia came together to find ways to prevent and address human rights abuses in the economic sphere in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Terre des Hommes co-organised a round-table on “Respecting Children’s Rights – Tools and Approaches to Fight Child Labour” together with UN Global Compact, UNICEF, ILO, and Save the Children, to discuss best practices with companies regarding implementation of children’s rights and elimination of child labour. During the workshop the Child Labour Platform and the Children’s Rights and Business Principles were presented as instruments available for companies.
Speaking about child labour at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, Barbara Küppers, from Terre des Hommes, presented two main demands towards business: working on compliance and also looking into the factors that push children into labour. A supply chain without child labour is a first step and will only contribute to ending exploitation of children, if there is commitment to sustainable solutions, like living wages for adult workers and education and vocational training for children and youth. She also stressed that as push factors, the rights of children are violated in many regards before they enter the labour market and she invited companies to question themselves about the impact they create and look at it through the eyes of a child.
The round-table included presenters from the business sector. Speaking for H&M Luisa Book, outlined the importance of listening to the voices of children and of working with trade unions, she also recalled the magnitude of youth unemployment. All in all, participants fully reaffirmed that a meaningful impact to reduce child labour can only be achieved through active collaboration between governmental, non-governmental and business partners.