The UN Forum on Business and Human Rights is the world's largest meeting discussing how business can be a driver to promote human rights, roles of businesses to respect human rights and successful examples of how to take action against human rights violations.
With over 152 million children doing work in violation of some of their most fundamental rights, ECLT’s work focuses on 3 key areas of human rights to tackle some of the key drivers of child labour.
Every child has the right to education. More teacher training, improved infrastructure, better school materials and after school clubs are just a few ways in which the ECLT Foundation is working to keep children in school and away from child labour in fields. Access to quality education helps give children a better chance to succeed in life – a means to escape poverty, training for a job that uses their gifts and talents, and someday, an income to support their own children so that they can end the vicious cycle of child labour. Since 2011, over 27,000 children have been supported to go to school or receive vocational training through ECLT projects.
2. Adequate Living Standards
Living in poverty violates a great number of human rights including the right to an adequate living standard. Job skills training, Village Savings & Loan Associations, Model Farm Schools & access to better farming technologies can give rural communities the tools they need to pay their children’s school fees, start their own businesses and invest in better living conditions. So far over 68,000 families have participated in financial empowerment activities set up by the ECLT Foundation.
3. Decent Work
According to the ILO, work should be productive, deliver a fair income, be safe, provide social protection, allow people to express concerns and to be equal, and provide space for personal development. In rural farming communities, training on occupational health and safety, awareness raising on child labour, compiling lists of hazardous work and improving access to more decent work opportunities can help a generation of young people have a brighter future in the world of work.
Hearing from voices from the ground
Last year, Olman from Guatemala, 17, joined the Voices from the Ground session as the first-ever speaker who is under 18 years-old at the Forum. Olman explained that over 70% of children in Guatemala are in situations of child labour and the vast majority of them working in agriculture, driven to do so by poverty. He called for support to attend university to successfully enter the workforce as professionals, and to continue to be heard by decision makers at fora like the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights. The ECLT Foundation applauds the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights for taking a step to increase access and voice for children and young people on these important issues that affect them and their communities and looks forward to seeing how voices from the ground will help shape discussions on business and human rights at the forum this year.