India Committee of the Netherlands
+++ In solidarity with the oppressed in India +++


CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY - DOSSIER PRESS RELEASES
2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - <2000
Aug 23, 2017:
New report: The Dark Sites of Granite: Modern slavery, child labour and unsafe work in Indian Granite Quarries - What should companies do? (PRESS RELEASE ICN/Stop Child Labour):
New research, commissioned by the India Committee of the Netherlands and Stop Child Labour, reveals that modern slavery, low wages, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions are rampant in granite quarries in South India. In some quarries, especially in waste stone processing, child labour is found.
There is an enormous gap in working conditions between permanent workers (mainly supervisors) and casual workers (70% of the workforce). The first group receives safety equipment, insurance and an employment contract, while the casual labourers doing the dangerous manual work, lack those fundamental labour rights.
Jul 4, 2017:
Responsible garment production a step closer (PRESS RELEASE SER):
The textile industry has established a basis for responsible garment manufacturing in the longer term. For the first time ever, businesses as a group will state which factories produce their clothing. They have also drawn up specific improvement plans to tackle poor working conditions, human rights and environmental and animal abuses.
Mar 15, 2017:
Rights of Indian leather workers systematically violated - Major footwear and garment brands react to serious human rights issues in their leather supply chain and promise collective action (PRESS RELEASE ICN):
Around 2,5 million workers in the Indian leather industry often face unacceptable working conditions that violate their human rights and seriously affect their health. Toxic chemicals used in tanneries often very negatively impact the health of the workers. Less known are the many labour and other human rights issues in the leather industry like wages below the stipulated minimum wage, child labour, the exploitation of home-based workers, the difficulty to organize in trade unions and the discrimination of Dalits (‘outcastes’).
Feb 16, 2017:
10,000 signatures for living wage handed over to Minister Ploumen: Consumer fed up with starvation wages in garment industry (PRESS RELEASE Clean Clothes Campaign/ICN):
Thousands of Dutch consumers want Minister Ploumen [of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation] to provide a living wage for garment workers. Through a petition of Clean Clothes Campaign and the India Committee of the Netherlands 10,734 Dutch people call on Ploumen to do so.
Jan 24, 2017:
Branded Childhood: Garment brands contribute to low wages, long working hours, child labour and school dropouts in Bangladesh (PRESS RELEASE Stop Child Labour):
The average worker in the Bangladeshi garment industry is getting paid only one third of what is considered to be a living wage. Low wages and long working hours have been found to play a key role in parents’ decisions to take their children out of school and let them work in various jobs. Many international garment brands, including but not only H&M, C&A, Esprit, Marks & Spencer, GAP, VF Corporation and Kmart Australia, contribute to this situation.
These are important findings of the report Branded Childhood that is published by Stop Child Labour and SOMO today. Almost 50% of the textiles produced in Bangladesh are exported to the European Union. International brands and retailers should therefore play a key role in ensuring that the rights of all workers and their children are respected.
2016
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Dec 21, 2016:
Fabric of Slavery: Large-scale child slavery in Indian spinning mills making yarn for international garment brands (PRESS RELEASE ICN):
New research by the India Committee of Netherlands (ICN) shows that various forms of modern slavery, including child slavery, are found in more than 90% of the spinning mills in South India. These spinning mills produce yarn for India, Bangladeshi and Chinese garment factories that produce for the Western market.
The report Fabric of Slavery exposes the scale on which young girls and women - the majority of which are Dalits or 'outcastes' - are enslaved by employers who withhold their wages or lock them up in company-controlled hostels. They work long hours, face sexual harassment and do not even earn the minimum wage. Gerard Oonk, director of ICN: "We have raised the issue for five years now, but even to us the scale of this problem came as a shock."
Sep 27, 2016:
Dutch companies producing garments in India often pay less than minimum wage (PRESS RELEASE Clean Clothes Campaign/ICN):
The working conditions in factories in India that produce for Dutch clothing brands are downright bad. Not garment worker earns a living wage. More than one third of the workers not even gets the official minimum wage. Mandatory overtime is often not paid, intimidation is widespread and women earn even less than men. Also, some factories do not take care of social insurances and medical expenses. That is, and more, emerges from the study Doing Dutch – Research into the state of pay for workers in garment factories in India working for Dutch fashion brands published today by the Clean Clothes Campaign and the India Committee of the Netherlands.
Aug 30, 2016:
‘Certified Unilever Tea – A Cup Half Empty’: Working conditions at Rainforest Alliance certified tea plantations supplying Unilever in Tamil Nadu, India still below standards (PRESS RELEASE ICN):
The report Certified Unilever Tea - A Cup Half Empty, published today by the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), provides evidence that working conditions at two Rainforest Alliance (RA) certified Indian tea estates providing tea to Unilever have improved but continue to be not ‘up to standard’, in particular for casual workers. Wages – between €3 and just over €4 – are far less than a living wage of around €7.50. Casualization of the workforce substantially increased, most of them migrants or retired permanent workers. They do not receive the same social benefits as permanent workers.
Mar 9, 2016:
Broad support for plan to eliminate child labour from the garment and textile industry (PRESS RELEASE Stop Child Labour):
Stop Child Labour welcomes the broad support for the elimination of child labour, forced (child) labour, low wages and other abuses in the global garment and textile industry. Sector associations, the government, trade unions and civil society organizations - including Stop Child Labour – have agreed on a ‘covenant’ to address these issues in the coming years.
Jan 28, 2016:
Unfree and Unfair: young migrant garment workers in Bangalore, India - C&A, H&M, Inditex ('Zara'), GAP and PVH ('Tommy Hilfiger') declare to take serious action (PRESS RELEASE ICN):
The paper Unfree and Unfair – published today by the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) – gives evidence of appalling living conditions and restricted freedom of movement of young migrant garment workers in the Indian city of Bangalore. An increasing number of young migrant women workers are staying in factory-owned hostels with poor living conditions while their movement is severely restricted. The wages of the workers do not add up to a decent living wage.
The hostels are run by garment factories in Bangalore that produce for leading multinational brands like C&A, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, Inditex and GAP. These companies promised a number of specific actions to provide migrant garment workers with better living conditions in Bangalore.
2015
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Nov 24, 2015:
New Report Soiled Seeds: Many seed companies involved in child labour and below minimum wages in vegetable seed production in India - 156.000 Indian children produce vegetable seeds for companies (PRESS RELEASE ICN):
Almost 156.000 Indian children are producing vegetable seeds (tomato, hot pepper, okra), of which 50.000 are below 14 years of age. All of them are exposed to harsh working conditions, including poisonous pesticides and long working days. They mostly drop out of school between 11 and 13 years of age. The number of adolescent children (14 to 18) increased with more than 37.000.
Multinationals like Limagrain (French), Sakata (Japanese), Advanta (Indian) and East-West Seed (Dutch) had between 10 and 16% children below 14 years working at farmers producing seeds for them. Indian companies show similar figures. All companies have around 30% adolescents working on supplier farms.
Jul 23, 2015:
New report: Cotton’s Forgotten Children - Almost half a million Indian children produce cottonseed (PRESS RELEASE ICN/Stop Child Labour):
Almost half a million Indian children are working to produce the cottonseed that is the basis for our garments and all the other textile products that we use. Around 200,000 of them are below 14 years of age. This is one of the shocking results of the new study Cotton’s Forgotten Children by India’s long-term expert on the issue, Dr. Davuluri Venkateswarlu.
May 11, 2015:
Modern slavery and child labour in Indian quarries: Stop Child Labour urges companies and government to take action (PRESS RELEASE ICN/Stop Child Labour):
Modern slavery is widespread in Indian quarries. Child labour also occurs frequently. Most Dutch importers of Indian granite give no information from which quarries they are sourcing their granite or say they do not know from which quarries the stone comes from.
This is the main outcome of the report Rock Bottom - Modern Slavery and Child Labour in South Indian Granite Quarries on working conditions in South Indian granite quarries which is published by the India Committee of the Netherlands in collaboration with the coalition Stop Child Labour.
2014
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Oct 28, 2014:
New Report: Modern day slavery in the Indian textile industry - Efforts of clothing brands and retailers lack scale and conviction (PRESS RELEASE SOMO/ICN):
Flawed Fabrics – a new report by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) – shows that workers are still facing appalling labour conditions that amount to forced labour in the export-oriented Southern Indian textile industry. The women and girls who work in the spinning mills of Tamil Nadu, some as young as 15, are mostly recruited from marginalised Dalit communities in impoverished rural areas. They are forced to work long hours for low wages. They live in very basic company-run hostels and are hardly ever allowed to leave the company compound. The researched spinning mills have Western companies and Bangladesh garment factories among their customers, including C&A, Mothercare, HanesBrands, Sainsbury's and Primark.
Apr 4, 2014:
‘Small Steps - Big Challenges’ in Tamil Nadu’s textile industry: Garment brands not transparent on tackling bonded labour in India (PRESS RELEASE FNV Mondiaal/ICN):
Most Dutch and international companies importing garments from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu refuse to be transparent about if and how they tackle bonded labour at their suppliers. An estimated 100,000 young children and teenage girls are victims of 'bonded labour' or 'modern slavery'. These girls - mostly Dalit ('outcaste') - live in hostels, with little freedom of movement, underpaid for long working-days and working under unhealthy conditions.
This is an important conclusion of the paper Small Steps, Big Challenges - Update on (tackling) exploitation of girls and young women in the garment supply chain of South India that FNV Mondiaal (international department of Dutch trade union confederation) and the India Committee of the Netherlands have just published.
2013
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Aug 13, 2013:
Dutch Minister Ploumen: Eradicate child labour and low wages in Indian seed sector 'as soon as possible' - ICN report leads to action by companies and trade association (PRESS RELEASE ICN/Stop Child Labour):
The Dutch government wants child labour and low wages in the seed production in India "to be eliminated as soon as possible". That is what Dutch Minister Ploumen of Trade and Development Co-operation answered in response to parliamentary questions from Members of Parliament ChristianUnion, Party for the Animals, Socialist Party and 50Plus. She made an agreement on that with the Dutch seed companies Bejo Seeds and Nunhems, as well as with trade association Plantum. The India Committee of the Netherlands and the Stop Child Labour campaign welcome this agreement.
Minister Ploumen will visit India beginning of September. CSR will be an important part of her mission.
2012
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Jul 18, 2012:
Brands and politicians are starting to act: Bonded (child) labour in Indian garment industry draws global attention (PRESS RELEASE SOMO/ICN):
Recent publications of SOMO and the India Committee of the Netherlands have significantly contributed to the fact that in Europe, the USA and The Netherlands steps are being taken against the large-scale child labour in the South Indian textile and garment industry. Both a number of garment brands as well as the Dutch, European and American politicians are now starting to take some action against bonded (child) labour in South India which is known as the ‘Sumangali Scheme’.
Apr 25, 2012:
Young Dalit women exploited in Indian garment industry: Despite industry's promises, young Dalit women continue to suffer exploitative conditions, reveals new report 'Maid in India' (PRESS RELEASE SOMO/ICN):
European and US garment brands and retailers have failed in their attempts to structurally improve labour conditions at their suppliers in Tamil Nadu, South India. Despite corporate promises and a range of well-meaning initiatives, workers, mostly very young women, continue to suffer exploitative working conditions. Up until today, thousands of women in the garment and textile industry in Tamil Nadu work under recruitment and employment schemes that amount to bonded labour. These are the findings by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) presented in the report Maid in India, published today.
Mar 5, 2012:
Still 'Captured by Cotton'? Despite some improvements, problems persist in the garment supply chain (PRESS RELEASE SOMO/ICN):
Today, the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) are presenting a sneak preview of their upcoming report on labour abuses in the South Indian garment industry. The two-pager preview is published on the occasion of a meeting of the Sumangali Bonded Labour group of the UK-based Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI). SOMO and ICN call upon garment brands to take their responsibility to ensure that workers’ rights are respected throughout their supply chain.
2011
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Oct 31, 2011:
Precarious work in certified tea production for Unilever - New report by SOMO and ICN reveals labour right violations in Rainforest Alliance certified tea production for Unilever in India and Kenya (PRESS RELEASE SOMO/ICN):
Workers picking tea for Unilever in India and Kenya are subject to precarious working conditions and labor rights violations, even though this tea carries the Rainforest Alliance certificate. This is an important finding from the report Certified Unilever Tea - Small cup, big difference? that SOMO and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) are releasing today.
May 20, 2011:
Exploited Dalit Girls Produce Garments in India for European and US Markets - Companies have taken steps, but exploitation remains widespread (MEDIA RELEASE SOMO/ICN):
Big garment brands and retailers have their products made under exploitative and unhealthy conditions by girls in Tamil Nadu, South India. The girls, mostly younger than 18 and from a Dalit (‘outcaste’) background are employed under the Sumangali Scheme. In its worst form, this employment scheme stands for bonded labour, as described in Captured by Cotton, a report published today by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporation (SOMO) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN).
The report features case studies of four large manufacturers: Eastman Global Clothing Exports, KPR Mill, Bannari Amman, and SSM India. These enterprises produce for Bestseller (e.g. Only, Jack & Jones), C&A, GAP, Diesel, Inditex (e.g. Zara), Marks & Spencer, Primark, Tommy Hilfiger, and many other European and US garment companies. A number of companies have undertaken steps towards the elimination of the Sumangali Scheme, but abusive labour practices remain widespread.
May 11, 2011:
India failing to address its farmer suicide crisis (PRESS RELEASE CHR&GJ):
The Indian government must uphold its human rights obligations by responding immediately to its farmer suicide crisis, said the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) in a new report released today. The report, Every Thirty Minutes: Farmer Suicides, Human Rights, and the Agrarian Crisis in India, looks critically at India’s farmer suicide epidemic—which has been claimed the lives of an estimated 250,000 farmers since 1995—and proposes steps that the government should take toward upholding the human rights of this vulnerable population.
2010
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Jun 10, 2010:
More than half a million child labourers in Indian seed production - Situation improved where government, NGOs and companies intervened (MEDIA RELEASE ICN/Stop Child Labour/ILRF):
More than half a million children in India below 18 years are growing cottonseed and vegetable seeds under hazardous conditions, including very long working hours and exposure to pesticides. Around 230.000 of them are below 14 years of age. They produce the seed on the land of small and marginal farmers, which multinational and Indian seed companies use to outsource their hybrid seed production.
Child labour below age 14 in cottonseed production, although still a huge problem, has decreased in India by 25%. The decline is greater in areas where the MV Foundation (an NGO) and companies like Bayer and Monsanto have made efforts to eliminate it.
2008
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May 9, 2008:
Child labour and Corporate Social Responsibility: what the European Union should do (PRESS INVITATION Stop Child Labour):
Stronger measures are needed in the European Union to ensure, in the context of Corporate Social Responsibility, the implementation of internationally agreed norms by EU companies. This includes the elimination of child labour, based on both ILO Child Labour Conventions.
‘Stop Child Labour’, Thijs Berman and Richard Howitt (both PES) will present at this Round Table a number of policies to eliminate child labour, with a focus on three points in particular.
Feb 19, 2008:
Action Plan for Companies to Combat Child Labour launched in Delhi (PRESS RELEASE Stop Child Labour):
An ‘Action Plan for Companies to Combat Child Labour’ will be launched on 20 February in New Delhi, India, during the ‘International Conference for Child Rights Organisers and Campaigners’ by the campaign ‘Stop Child Labour – School is the best place to work’. The conference is an initiative of the Global Trade Union Movement.
The document combines good practice experiences and insights in the field of combating child labour and rights-based corporate social responsibility.
Jan 21, 2008:
Need for more sustainable Chinese granite: European natural stone importers acknowledge need for improvement of labour conditions (PRESS RELEASE SOMO/ICN):
The import of granite and other natural stone products into the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and other European countries is increasing. Granite is much used for public infrastructural projects, like pavement. The production of granite and other types of natural stone is still far from sustainable, concludes the report Improving working conditions at Chinese Natural Stone Companies that was just now published by SwedWatch and SOMO. Safety is a major issue in Chinese tile cutting facilities and quarries. Working weeks of seven days are no exception. Payment is poor. European importing companies acknowledge the problems described in the report and are willing to contribute to improving the working conditions.
2007
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Nov 9, 2007:
India: Government Supports Employer in Cover-up of Worker Rights Abuses (PRESS RELEASE International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)) [CASE CLOSED]:
The ITUC has criticised attempts by the Indian government and the Bangalooru Court to cover up serious labour rights violations by the Fibre & Fabrics International company (FFI) and its subsidiary Jeans Knits Pvt. Ltd in the Indian city. Local labour rights groups, supported by the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) initially exposed the violations in 2005. Following this the company, which supplies jeans to Dutch company G-Star and other international brands, took legal action in 2006 in the Bangalooru Court to ban the local groups, CCC and ICN from speaking about or publicising the violations.
Sep 25, 2007:
New report: 'Child bondage continues in Indian cotton supply chain' - More than 400.000 children exploited in hybrid cottonseed production (MEDIA RELEASE ICN):
More than 416.000 children under the age of 18, of which almost 225.000 younger than 14, are involved in (often bonded) child labour in India’s cottonseed fields. Most of them are girls. They work in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Compared to the 2003-2004 harvest season the total number of working children has risen. It only decreased in Andhra Pradesh because of local and international pressure.
These are some important results from the study Child bondage continues in Indian cotton supply chain, published on behalf of the India Committee of the Netherlands ICN), the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF, USA), OECD Watch, German Agro-Action and OneWorld Net NRW (Germany). The report is based on field research and has been written by well-known expert Dr. Davuluri Venkateswarlu, director of Glocal Research, who authored several other reports on this issue since 2001.
Jun 8, 2007:
New report: Seeds of Change - Child labour in India in cotton seed tackled by MNC's Bayer and Monsanto, but issue is far from solved (PRESS RELEASE ICN):
Multinational companies Bayer and Monsanto have, under a combination of local and international pressure, began to tackle the issue of child labour in their cotton seed supply chain in India. However, both companies are still unprepared to tackle the issue in other states in which they are expanding their production.
This is the conclusion of the report, titled Seeds of Change, published today. The author Dr. Davuluri Venkateswarlu assesses the follow-up by the two companies on commitments to a joint action plan. The report is released in advance of World Day Against Child Labor taking place on June 12.
2006
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Sep 29, 2006:
New report From Quarry to Graveyard: The Dutch natural stone market and responsible business behaviour - 'Dutch natural stone companies are beginning to take an interest in responsible business behaviour' (PRESS RELEASE ICN):
Inhuman labour conditions and wide scale environmental damage are part and parcel of natural stone production in India. This is the message of the report From Quarry to Graveyard - Corporate social responsibility in the natural stone sector published today by the India Committee of the Netherlands. The report describes the Dutch natural stone trade and details how Dutch companies and trade organisations are starting to take an interest in corporate social responsibility.
2005
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Oct 31, 2005:
Companies perpetuate child labour in India by low prices and flawed inspection (MEDIA RELEASE ICN):
Multinational and Indian seed companies are paying Indian farmers who are producing their cotton seed almost 40% too little to enable them to hire adults for the local minimum wage of Rs.52 (€1,-) instead of children. The companies are multinationals like Bayer, Monsanto and Syngenta but also Indian companies like Nuziveedu Seeds, Raasi Seeds and Ankur Seeds.
At present the farmers working for these companies mainly hire children and young people below 18. At least 100.000 of them work 13 hours a day in cotton seed production in Andhra Pradesh for less than half a euro per day. They are often bonded by loans given to their parents.
These are some findings from the report The Price of Childhood released by the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), the International Labor Rights Fund (USA) and Eine Welt Netz NRW (OneWorld Net Germany).
Jun 21, 2005:
Report demands UK companies act on caste discrimination (PRESS RELEASE Dalit Solidarity Network (UK)):
A report launched yesterday at the AGM of the Dalit Solidarity Network (UK) urges UK companies currently outsourcing to India to address the crucial issue of caste discrimination. The introduction by DSN Chair Revd David Haslam and the former UNISON General Secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe draws parallels with investment in South Africa during the apartheid hears. It says if there is a discriminatory system, unless there is active intervention then investors are inevitably contributing to such a system. Rodney Bickerstaffe said ‘This is an issue which all UK companies operating in South Asia should address, and the trades unions active in those companies should be pressing them to do so’.
2004
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Oct 4, 2004:
Multinational and Indian companies still profit from bonded child labour on cottonseed farms in India (PRESS RELEASE ICN) :
An estimated 12,375 children are still working in horrendous conditions on cottonseed farms in the state of Andhra Pradesh (India) producing for the multinational corporations (MNC's) Advanta (Dutch), Bayer (German), Emergent Genetics (US, with an investment from Unilever) and Monsanto (US). In addition more than 70.000 children are working for Indian seed companies under similar circumstances. Children are working long hours, do not go to school and are often bonded to the employers by loans. A number of children have died or became seriously ill due to exposure to pesticide. Promises by companies made last year to eradicate child labour in the sector have not translated into solid actions.
Apr 30, 2004:
Dutch companies in India yet to live up to corporate responsibility (PRESS RELEASE ICN) :
Dutch companies in India only very partially practice corporate social responsibility (CSR). Most multinationals do have an official corporate policy or a code of conduct on the issue, but hardly involve their Indian daughter company in its development. Neither do they monitor if the policy is implemented or not. Small and medium sized - internationally operating - companies (SME's) usually do not have a CSR policy. Hardly any company does check if the production in its sub-contracting chain is being carried out in line with internationally agreed labour and (other) human rights and as well as environmental standards. This is also the case with regard to a highly sensitive issue like child labour.
These are some conclusions from the report Corporate Social Responsibility - Policy and practices of Dutch companies. The report was commissioned by the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) and written by CREM (Consultancy and Research for Environmental Management).
2003
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Oct 24, 2003:
Multinationals pledge to end child labour in Indian seed production (PRESS RELEASE ICN/Amnesty International Netherlands/Novib-Oxfam Netherlands/FNV Mondiaal):
Seed multinationals Monsanto, Emergent Genetics, Hindustan Lever1, Syngenta, Advanta and Proagro (a subsidiary of Bayer) as well as some big Indian seed companies, have agreed to co-operate with the MV Foundation (MVF) - a reputed NGO in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh - to eliminate child labour from the cotton seed industry. The companies will come up with a concrete proposal in October 2003.
This was the outcome of a meeting between these companies and the MV Foundation (MVF) in September in Hyberabad, capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. The outcome is a real breakthrough in view of the ongoing debate on the issue.
Jun 3, 2003:
Finance Ministry to formulate new guidelines for bilateral aid in consultation with development partners (PRESS RELEASE Government of India):
The Finance Ministry will frame a new set of guidelines which will govern future bilateral aid flows to India. While framing the guidelines the Ministry will invite inputs from bilateral aid partners.
May 19, 2003:
Unilever asks its Indian subsidiary HLL to discuss child labour (PRESS RELEASE ICN):
On the 15th of May the issue of child labour in cotton seed production was discussed between Unilever Netherlands and the India Committee of the Netherlands, the Confederation of Netherlands Trade Unions, Amnesty International, Novib/Oxfam Netherlands and the Indian M. Venkatarangaiya Foundation (MVF). Unilever agreed to ask her Indian subsidiary Hindustan Lever to have a meeting in the region of production (Andhra Pradesh) with MVF.
May 14, 2003:
Unilever, Monsanto and other multinationals involved in large-scale child labour in India's cotton seed production - Start of European campaign 'Stop child labour - School is the best place to work' (PRESS RELEASE ICN):
Both Hindustan Lever Ltd., an Indian subsidiary of British-Dutch multinational company Unilever, as well as the American multinational Monsanto are making use of hazardous forms of child labour in cotton seed production in India on a large scale. An estimated number of 25.000 children, mostly girls, work an average of ten to thirteen hours a day for Hindustan Lever, while around 17.000 children work for Monsanto and their Indian subsidiary Mahyco. These children get no education, earn less than 40 Eurocents (Rs. 20) a day and are exposed to poisonous pesticides like Endosuphan during their work. More than 11.000 children work under similar conditions for the multinationals Syngenta (Swiss), Advanta (Dutch-British) and Proagro (owned by Bayer from Germany).
This is the result from the research done by the Indian researcher Dr. D. Venkateswarlu for the Indian Committee of the Netherlands.
May 5, 2003:
Unilever rejects accusation of using child labour (PRESS RELEASE Unilever):
Some time ago NGOs (including the India Committee of the Netherlands, the FNV trade union federation, Amnesty International and Novib) brought the working conditions in hybrid cottonseed production in India to Unilever's attention. Unilever is aware of this problem and entered into extensive correspondence about this and held talks and always showed its willingness to continue the dialogue. In view of that Unilever is surprised at the fact that the NGOs have not sought contact with its Indian subsidiary Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL), despite Unilever's invitations to do so. HLL has a minority stake without management control in Paras Extra Growth Seed Ltd., the business that purchases cottonseed from the seed organisers, who in turn buy it from the growers.
1988
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Mar 1988:
Campaigning on Operation Flood leads to important concessions of the European Community (EC) (PRESS REPORT ICN):
After years of debate and controversy in India and Europe on Operation Flood, the European Community recently decided to support the third phase of this national dairy development programme in India with new multi-annual food aid supplies. From 1970 till 1986 the EC has already been providing Operation Flood with around half a million ton of skimmed mil powder (SMP) and butteroil (BO). Most probably in March this year India and the EC will sign an agreement on Operation Flood III (1987-1994) for the supply of 75.000 ton of SMP and 25.000 ton of BO. In fact 40% of these amounts have already been delivered last year or will be delivered in the first half of this year.
The World Bank will also support Operation Flood III with a loan of $360 million (Rs. 4680 million) on a total project budget of around $700 million. The rest of Flood III will be financed with funds generated by new EC dairy aid (Rs. 2126 million) and with the existing resources of the National Dairy Development Board (Rs. 1960 million). The latter are largely deriving from unspent counterpart funds of EC support to Operation Flood II.
Jan 20, 1988:
Urgent call upon European Parliament: No more dairy aid for Operation Flood in India without policy change in favour of the poor (PRESS REPORT ICN):
The European Community should stop it's dairy aid to India's dairy development programme Operation Flood III. This can best be done after the proposed quantities of skimmed milk powder (SMP) and butteroil (BO) for 1988 (18.000 t. and 6000 t. respectively) have been delivered, because this gives the project authorities of Operation Flood some time to adjust to the new situation.
Also the Dairy Federations, in theory the highest representatives of the milk producers who are participating in Operation Flood, have in a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of India (of 8th July 1988) asked for a ban on the import of SMP and BO.
Any additional aid for Operation Flood III (1987-1994), preferably financial aid and not dairy aid, should only be considered if there is a clear policy change in favour of the poor, among which women in particular, and if competition between European dairy aid and indigenous milk production is strictly avoided. In this case any financial transfers or proceeds from dairy aid should be used to support the implementation of these policy changes.
Mar 1987:
Joint Review Mission EEC/World Bank concludes: Stop EEC dairy aid to India (PRESS REPORT ICN):
The official Joint Review Mission of the EEC and the World Bank which evaluated India's Operation Flood II programme last summer, has come to the conclusion that "a moratorium on imports of dairy products is more than appropriate and deliveries of milk powder and butteroil should take place only if and when a substantial and documented deficit shows up". According to the mission "imports of dairy products (either donated, subsidized or commercial) can, in the present situation of growing indigenous stocks, damage the strenghteninq of the cooperative industry".
1985
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Dec 9, 1985:
Start of Campaign EEC milk out of India! (PRESS REPORT ICN):
The India Committee of the Netherlands, a non-governmental voluntary organization, is starting this month with the campaign: 'EEC MILK OUT OF INDIA!'. The campaign is meant in the first place to stop the vicious circle of EEC dairy aid to, and animal feed imports from India. It is directed at the European Parliament, the European Commission (the 'executive board' of the EEC), the parliaments and governments of the EC-member countries and the compound feed industry in these countries.