EuroCommerce and Euro-FIET Joint statement on combating child labour,
8 March 1996.



1. EuroCommerce and EURO-FIET represent employers and employees in commerce. Commerce and distribution employ more than 22 million people in the European Union, which is 15 per cent of total employment. The value added of 14 per cent which commerce and distribution bring to the European Union is crucial for the well-being of all Europeans.

2. The social partners consider it to be in contravention with the fundamental principles of human rights to exploit children in a way that deprives them of a natural adolescence and possibilities of education.

3. The European commerce sector is worried that exploitation of children still takes place in certain countries in connection with the production of goods for the European market, among others.

4. Therefore, the European social partners in commerce:

- emphasise that where child labour exists, the countries concerned have a duty to combat the exploitation of children, which is in violation of their human rights, including those embodied in the laws of those countries.

- urge the countries concerned to undertake measures with the objective of guaranteeing that the children's right to a normal adolescence and education is ensured,

- call for development aid policies to give positive support to these measures, as many of the countries concerned are developing countries,

- express their awareness of and support for the growing consumer demand for goods obtained from sources which do not exploit child labour,

- support the objective that, whenever possible, it should be avoided to deal with goods produced in contravention of children’s rights,

- recommend that retailers, wholesalers and the international traders be alerted to signs which may indicate that a production process involves exploitation of children,

  • recommend commerce to support reasonable and practicable steps to use only reputable suppliers,

5. The social partners in commerce realise that large enterprises and particularly large multinationals are able to apply more direct measures to avoid dealing with products that involve the exploitation of children than small retailers who purchase through third parties.


8 March 1996

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