The Guest Blog

Guest blog post by Fernando Morales-de la Cruz, Founder, Café for Change.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in December 1948, almost 70 years ago. The Convention of the Rights of the Child was ratified by all EU member states almost 30 years ago.

The European Parliament passed a resolution in 2012 on child labor in cocoa, demanding policy coherence by the European Commission for the eradication of child labor, and yet, today, six years later, the European Union is the largest financial beneficiary of child labor in coffee and cocoa producing regions, as well as in so many other products. Even the Financial Times reported recently that child labor in cocoa is on the rise.

This is not the Europe we want for our children, or for any children anywhere in the world.

President Juncker said on May 18th. 2018: “the principles of democracy, equality and respect for human rights – (are) values on which Europe is based today. These are not just words, these are not just aspirations. For all of us, these are enduring commitments“.

Considering that “these are not just aspirations” but “are enduring commitments“ and that they are above all legal obligations, the European Commission must answer these six questions:

  1. How seriously does the European Commission take its legal obligations to defend the Rule of Law, Human Rights and, specially, the Children’s Rights of millions of defenseless children being used as cheap labor as part of exploitative trade business models of multinational corporations like those that control the coffee, cocoa and tea industries, and so many others?
  1. The number of children working as cheap child labor in the EU supply chain of coffee, cocoa and tea is larger than the population of Brussels. Does the European Commission know how many million children are being exploited as cheap child labor in its own supply chain?
  1. Do you have a task force working to end this unacceptable and illegal business model? Which Commissioners are involved?
  1. If such a task force doesn’t exist what are you waiting for to create it?
  1. Does the European Commission have a list of the companies that sell their products in the EU that have hundreds of thousands, tens of thousands or thousands of children being exploited as cheap child labor -in order to have lower labor costs and/or cheaper raw materials-?
  1. If Europe is today the largest financial beneficiary of child labor in coffee and cocoa producing regions, profiting from the exploitation of millions of defenseless children: How can President Juncker claim that “the principles of democracy, equality and respect for human rights – (are) values on which Europe is based today”?
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