How mining effects children, women, adivasi, dalits | ISO 26000 Guidance | More

Dear reader,

Here is another round of news on the activities of the India Committee of The Netherlands (ICN) and some coalitions in which it participates.

Successful petition presented at Global Child labour Conference
Over the last two months we have asked your support for the petition ‘Stop Child labour – Every Child to School’. A big thanks to everyone of you who made this petition a success!
During the Global Child labour Conference on the 10th of May Mr. Venkat Reddy, co-ordinator of the Indian NGO MV Foundation together with the chairperson of the Dutch Federation of Trade Unions, Mrs. Agnes Jongerius, presented more than 12.000 signatures to the chairperson of the Conference, Minister Piet Hein Donner of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment of The Netherlands. See also conference website:

At the Conference a Roadmap for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour was adopted after long negotiations of country representatives, trade unions, employers organizations and NGOs. An important result of the petition, in which we argued for a global policy to eliminate all forms of child labour (and not only the worst forms), is the following statement in the Preamble of the Roadmap:
‘Considering that action to eliminate the worst forms of child labour is most effective and sustainable when it is situated within action to eliminate all child labour, including through area-based and sector-based programmes”
The full Roadmap can be found here:

Mining and its effects on children, women, Adivasi and Dalits
Reports recently released by Indian NGOs reveal the desperate situation for children and adults living and working in mining areas in India. Among them Dalits, Adivasi and women are the main victims. The report India’s Childhood in the “Pits” published by HAQ, SAMATA and mines, minerals and People (mmP) shows that districts that are entirely dependent on mining have a lower literacy rate than the national average. The mortality rate of children under five years of age is higher. Child labour is rampant.
GRAVIS has released the report Women Miners in Rajasthan, India. The report explores the harsh everyday life and work of female quarry workers in Rajasthan. An article on these two reports and the reports themselves can be found here:

Action Plan for Companies Against Child labour presented to Dutch Foreign Minister
On the 26 of May FNV chair Agnes Jongerius en ICN director Gerard Oonk presented the Dutch version of the Action Plan for Companies to Combat Child Labour’ to the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Maxime Verhagen. The Minister wrote a preface to this Dutch edition in which he urges companies to use the Action Plan in a step-by-step approach to eradicate child labour in their supply-chains. The presentation of the Action Plan took place in the store of high-end garment retailer McGregor in Amsterdam, one of the members of the FairWear Foundation. The FairWear Foundation is a multi-stakeholder initiative of around 50 companies, unions and NGOs that co-operate to improve working conditions in the global garment industry and also try to eradicate child labour. The Minister interviewed participants in the FairWear Foundation on how they tackled child labour in their production chain.
You can find the Action Plan here:

ISO 26000: new international Guidance Standard for Social Responsibility of Organizations
As representative of the Dutch CSR Platform (consisting of 35 organizations in the field of development, human rights, environment, fair trade as well as the two Dutch trade union federations) the director of ICN was closely involved in the development of an international Guidance Standard for the Social Responsibility of organizations, a project of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

In May 2010 the Guidance Standard was finalized during a working conference in Copenhagen. It now has to be voted on by the National Standard Bodies that are members of ISO. A large number of developing countries, not only their governments but also their NGOs, unions, consumer organizations and employer’s organizations, were closely involved in the five year process of developing the standard. Some crucial issues for ICN like human rights, labour rights, child labour and caste-based discrimination are also adequately reflected in the document. Please find the ISO press release on ISO 26000 here:

The unedited final version of the ISO 26000 Guidance Standard for Social Responsibility can (still) be found on (see upper right hand corner of homepage: Meeting 8 Copenhagen: N191 ISO 26000 Revised Draft 21 May)

Kind regards,

Gerard Oonk

director India Committee of the Netherlands
Mariaplaats 4e,
3511 LH Utrecht
tel. 030-2321340; fax.030-2322246

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