Answers to parliamentary questions instigated by SOMO/ICN report Flawed Fabrics:
MEPs want action European Commission against slavery in Indian textile production
ICN, November 18, 2014 [update February 18, 2015]
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Peter van Dalen (CU), Agnes Jongerius (PvdA) and Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (VVD) requested the European Commission to raise the problem of large-scale child and forced labour in the South Indian textile industry with European companies sourcing these products. They also want the Commission to raise the issue with European trade associations, the member states of the EU, the Indian government, the International Labour Organisation and the OECD. They want them to take joint action against these violations of human rights and work together on solutions.
'Alarming lack of transparency'
The MEPs note that in this and other issues there is "an alarming lack of transparency" of garment brands. They request the Commission to take the initiative "to substantially improve the level of transparency and reporting of textile companies with regard to their human rights impact" and to specify how.
'Voluntary approach does not work'
The requests of the MEPs are based on the report Flawed Fabrics by SOMO and the India Committee of the Netherlands. The MEPs note that the report examines five major Indian spinning mills showing that working conditions are in fact a form of slavery and child labour and that the victims mainly 'outcaste' Dalit girls and women. A large part of the production, they say, is for European garment brands such as C & A, Primark, Replay and H & M. They also quote that SOMO and ICN conclude that "the voluntary approach does not work and authorities need to enforce decent labour standards in order to prevent child labour and slavery". They ask whether the European Commission shares this view.
For full questions (subm. Nov 11, 2014) and answers, see: http://www.indianet.nl/pdf/ep150218e.pdf (February 18, 2015)
See report Flawed Fabrics: http://www.indianet.nl/FlawedFabrics.html
See article on the follow-up of the report: http://www.indianet.nl/141119e.html (November 19, 2014)