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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE: +Big Business ask Clean Ethical Certificates/Labels versus Human Trafficking, on their Products

CoE: +Big Business ask Clean Ethical Certificates/Labels versus Human Trafficking, on their Products

Pisac ACM
22. 05. 2018.

 coe_antitrafficking_panel_on_startegic_partnerships_eurofora_400

*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- An UnExpected Mark of potential Efficiency for CoE's already 10 Years-long Fight against Human Trafficking and Forced Labor it often provokes, among others, was, during a 2 Days International Conference in Strasbourg, the Interest Expressed by several Big and Other Businesses to receive a kind of Ethical Certificate for their Products and/or Services, which would Attest that they are Free from any legitimate Suspicion of eventualy Exploiting Forced Labour resulting from Human Trafficking, as it was revealed in a Special Workshop dedicated to "Strategic Partnerships" prospects, with the Participation of Representatives not only from PanEuropean CoE's specialized Watchdog "GRETA", but also from the Euro-Atlantic OSCE, the OAS for American Countries, etc.


- That surprizing Spin off suddenly emerged at the Surface when a UK Representative, participant at that Workshop's Panel, (which was attended also by CoE's Director on Anti-Trafficking, Petya Nestorova (Comp. her earlier Statements to "Eurofora" at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coe10yearsagainsthumantrafficking.html), during those Debates, suggested to go Beyond "Name and Shame" Measures, and Start Cooperating also with Businesses which have Recently shown their Interest to make Sure and Known that their Supply Chains are Free from any Exploitation of Forced Labour due to Human Trafficking, etc, but Follow, on the Contrary, Basic Ethical Principles in this regard.


- Similar Appeals were also made by at least 3 Other National Representatives from various CoE and GRETA Member States, (including, f.ex. Belgium, Greece, Bulgaria, etc). To this was Added even the voice of certain NGOs (f.ex. from Switzerland, etc), who said that they had been recently "Approached" by certain Companies, Asking a kind of "Certification", mutatis-mutandis similar to that of "Fair Trade", etc.


- This included mainly "Big Companies",  such as "IKEA" and others, (who were also Anxious that some unscrupulous SMEs might, eventually, Over-Exploit Human Trafficking in order to Blow Prices by Social Dumping and Snatch Procurements, etc), but it could also Benefit to several Small and Medium Businesses too, as some added.


- Big Businesses were particularly concerned and Relevant, since they are linked and exposed to World-wide Supply Chains, as well as many States' Procurements', policy, etc.


 - Such Moves might, Potentially, offer also some New Opportunities for adequate "Public - Private Patrnerships" in the Fight against Trafficking of Human Beings and Forced Labour, those participants Highlighted. States are not against Profitable Businesses, on the Condition that they are also Compatible with basic Ethical Principles and Legal Obligations, they added.


 - In this regard, some Proposed to eventually establish a certain kind of "Good Practices" List, relevant "Certificates" and/or "Labels", etc, while also the concrete Example of the ..."Ethical Chocolate" (a formula used elsewhere in the Past), was praised.


CoE has Already Published, as early as Since November 2016, a "Compendium of Good Practices" on Anti-Trafficking Measures, but this concerned mainly Decsions taken by Member States for the Implementation of the relevant PanEuropean Convention, as hey result from "National Evaluation Reports" by GRETA's Experts, while, here, it's also about Private Businesses too.


 Obviously, a Good and Solid Monitoring, in such cases, would be Necessary, in order to Avoid any Risk of eventual Corruption and/or Conflict or Interest Attempts. But, the very Possibility of such Partnerships nowadays, naturally Reveals also a Growing Potential for CoE's Anti-Trafficking Fight in real practice, if it's Carefully and Well used.
Converging Facts, clearly Indicate that such Proposals might Probably be Discussed, and perhaps Endorsed, mutatis-mutandis, in one way or another, fully or partly, in the Wider Framework of an Exceptional Meeting, Tomorrow at the CoE in Strasbourg, of National Coordinators for CoE's Member States engaged in Anti-Trafficking efforts, (organized Together with OSCE's competent Representative : Comp. Statements made Earlier to "Eurofora" at
http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coe10yearsagainsthumantrafficking.html) , in order to Design the Outlines of CoE's Activities in this field at the foeseeable Future.


- At any case, it's also a Fact that, in view of that forthcoming Meeting, Tomorrow All Day, CoE's Director on the Fight against Trafficking of Human Beings, Petya Nestorovan told "Eurofora", Later this Afternoon, that she was in a hurry to join a Team of her Collegues at CoE's adjacent "Agora" Building, where they were due to Work until Late this Evening, at the Eve of the above-mentioned Exceptional Meeting, in order to Better Prepare it on Time.

 

Meanwhile, this New point on Public-Private Partnerships against Human Trafficking was naturally mentioned, by that Panel's Rapporteur, Patricia Le Cocq from Belgium's Federal Migration Center, at the Concluding Session of the Plenary of CoE's International Conference on the 1Oth Anniversary since the PanEuropean Convention against Trafficking of Human Beings entered into force (2008-2018), later Today Afternoon.

 

 coe_10_years_anniversary_antitrafficking_conference_eurofora_400_01

 

I.e., just before the Participants were Invited at a Reception organized by the incoming Presidency of COE's Committee of Ministers by Croatia (May - November 2018), which had sponsored also that Conference, (opened earlier this Morning by the Croate Deputy Minister of Justice, Ivan Crncec), where a Music and Dance Group from the Caraibes performed artfully, and, (we were told), also ...Ethically.

 

 


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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send, Earlier, to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap)

 

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Speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", the New EU Parliament's President, former Polish Prime Minister, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Jerzy Busek, welcomed proposals by EuroFora about innovative ways for EU Citizens to attend EU debates before important final decisions which affect people's lives.

- "We (EU Parliament) must be transparent", Buzek stressed from the outset.  "We must have clear answers also for delicate questions. If we don't touch a problem, you must know why, and when shall we decide in the nearest future".. "Because "we (EU) must think about Europeans, first of all : They don't understand well what is going on in the EU. So, it's our duty to inform them, to make discussions here more interesting".

"EuroFora" congratulated President Buzek for the anouncement he made, from the 1st day of his election in Strasbourg (on Tuesday, 14 July 2009), on his intention to make  transparent debates, exchanges of views, etc. before the final adoption of decisions in EU Parliament's Plenary, when issues are evolving inside Committees, (See earlier publication).

And we reminded, in this regard, that "EuroFora" has been advocating a project for EU Citizens' active involvement in pluralist EU debates before important EU decisions, since more than a Decade : 1997-2007+

- "Thank you. We (EU Parliament), indeed, have exciting debates", Buzek replied. But, in practice, "without a possibility for our Citizens to see them, not even by the Press, the Radio or TV, etc., because it is in Committees", he regreted.

- "But, they (i.e. Media, Citizens, etc) might interact with you, with MEPs, etc, May be we can imagine something", "EuroFora" proposed.

- "Yes, (but) it needs, a quite new idea", Buzed observed.

- "Why not through some innovations ?", "EuroFora" suggested.

- "Innovation ? That's it. Fantastic  New Information Technologies !", Buzek realized.

- "Precisely, "EuroFora" has such a project, since more than a Decade (1997-2009), to use new technologies for public debates before major EU decisions are taken", we reminded.

- "If you have such proposals, please come to us, come to us. We must" do something, agreed the new EU Parliamen's President.

buzek_chairing_400 

    This fits with Buzek's main stance, expressed at EU Parliament's plenary earlier this week in Strasbourg, that the European Union must succeed to overcome a "Crisis of Trust" vis a vis EU Citizens. (See previous EuroFora publication).

    For that purpose, obviously information and debates are valuable, but purely instrumental, procedural means which can help focus on, and highlight a substantial content, attractive to EU Citizens, which needs to be determined by other, political, and not mediatic factors.  

    Buzek spoke about the urgent need to overcome the Global Economic Crisis,  the struggle for Human and Civic Rights, Democracy, etc., the Eastern Partnership, links with Russia, strategic partnership with USA and emerging countries, etc.

    But he also used (while speaking both to "EuroFora" and other Media) the expression : "The Europeans", for EU Citizens. This points right towards what several important EU leaders (including French President Sarkozy, German Chancellor Merkel, etc) have started to highlight particularly during the recent years : That there is a vital need, and an historic opportunity, for the development of a European Conscience, to stimulate e renaissance of a European Identity able to attract Popular support, for the EU to become a strong player in a Multopolar World : In other words, the revitalisation of a project for a "Political Europe".

    By a coincidence, this was indirectly but surely reminded, earlier in Strasbourg, by another ... Busek (this time with a "s") : 

busekcoe_400

    Speaking to more than 650 participants from CoE's member countries, at the conclusion of the 2009 Summer University of its Political Schools, Erhard Busek, (with an "s"), former vice-Chancellor of Austria and EU Coordinator for South-Eastern Europe, pointed at the current need to revitalize Europe's "Identity", forged by Greek philosophy and Roman Law, Christian values and Enlightment's ideas, etc. through the ages.     

- "We have almost the same name with Jerzy Buzek (EU Parliament's new President, who is a former Polish Prime Minister), because both our Families come ...from  the same village, located at the Heart of Europe, which was often shared between Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. But my family emmigrated a long time ago to Austria, while Jerzy Buzek's family remained in Poland", explained f. vice-Chancellor Erhard Busek to "EuroFora".   

 An astonishingly concrete and simple example of European Integration from the grassroots : Starting by EU Citizens, i.e. those "Europeans", that EU Parliament's new President, Jerzy Buzek (this time with a "z"), wants to bring alongside MEP's decision-making proces, (according to "EuroFora"'s main idea : Comp. supra)...

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