EU should take action against use of child labour in India

4 December 2007

EU should take action against use of child labour in India

"Europe should play a more active role in the fight against child labour. Imports from India, for example, of textile products made by children should also be tackled at European level," says SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer. Meijer today put a question to the European Commission following the issuing of an arrest warrant against members of the Clean Clothes Campaign and the Rural India Working Group.

Erik MeijerBoth organisations were critical of production methods used in India, including the employment of children. A court in Bangalore yesterday issued arrest warrants against eight members of the two groups, citing 'defamation'. "This is their way of attempting to silence human rights activists," said Meijer. He is demanding greater transparency in relation to the production process. "Europe should require it to be made clear who is responsible for each stage of production," he said. "As things stand the involvement of middlemen often masks the fact that child labour is being used. That sort of information should be readily available."

According to Meijer, the EU should halt imports of products in the manufacture of which child labour may have been used. SP colleagues in the Dutch national parliament have also taken up the issue, asking Minister of Economic Affairs Maria Van der Hoeven to explain why she instructed a Dutch trade mission to India in September not to mention child labour. In the 1990s the SP conducted a lengthy but eventually successful campaign to persuade Ikea to discontinue its practice of buying products made by children.

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