Happy Blog Action Day! Today bloggers around the world unite to blog about human rights. (Cool, huh?) So today I’m exploring the connection between Fair Trade and human rights, and how you can support economic justice for all.
First, to set the stage…here’s a widely recognized definition of Fair Trade enumerated in the FINE Principles:
Sounds great to me, but why can’t we just call it trade? Shouldn’t those variables be the jumping off point, not the end goal? I’ll answer my own question with a resounding yes, they should, but they’re not.
Here’s what’s really happening in trade today; Child and forced labor and child trafficking in cocoa fields where our chocolate comes from, and a global market economy plagued by sweatshops, human rights violations and environmental degradation.
Hence the need for equitable and fair partnership guidelines between producers, marketers of products and consumers. Hence the need for Fair Trade.
Fair Trade offers solutions to some of the worst forms of human rights abuses in trade today. Abuses that defy basic human rights as outlined in the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, such as:
- No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms
- Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work
- Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work
- Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests
- Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services
- Everyone has the right to education
So a vote for economic justice via Fair Trade is a vote for basic human rights.
TAKE ACTION! Here are some actions you can take to explore this topic more and take action:
- Read the FINE principles in full here and the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- Host a community screening of the film, The Dark Side of Chocolate, the documentary with shocking and disturbing evidence that child labor, trafficking, and slavery are continuing in the cocoa industry. Order a copy of the DVD here.
- October is Fair Trade month. Check out Global Exchange’s 31 Ways and 31 Days to Fair Trade your October for a list of actions you can take to participate to support Fair Trade and economic justice for all!