Child labor dispute

    A row has broken out between the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation (ELCT) and the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) over the foundation’s activities.

    In a press note issued on Monday, the ELCT alleged that public assertions made by the FCA concerning the ECLT foundation in its online article ILO amongst last UN Agencies accepting money from ‘Big Tobacco’ were ‘false and devoid of up-to-date evidence’.

    ‘Specifically, the ECLT Foundation notes that the FCA has failed to provide any credible, independently-corroborated evidence to support their assertion that, “Reports have repeatedly claimed that ECLT’s work aims to keep farmers dependent on aid from the tobacco industry to avoid them abandoning the sector(sic),”’ the ELCT said in its press note. ‘ECLT strongly rejects this false accusation, which is lacking evidence and solely supported by references from unnamed third parties.

    ‘In addition, the separate assertion that, as an independent Swiss Foundation, “ECLT allows the tobacco industry to promote a positive public image while continuing the practices that cause labour exploitation in the first place”, is both insulting to the work that the Foundation has carried out since 2000, and again, is untrue.

    ‘Having reached over 650,000 children and families in tobacco-growing communities since 2011 alone, working in partnership to find collaborative solutions for the systemic causes of child labour, the ECLT Foundation stands by the results of its work…

    ‘In this debate, the stakes for millions of children and their families are high, and the subsequent decision has significant potential to directly impact the realisation of their human and legal rights, including to escape poverty and other forms of exploitation and to secure decent conditions in which to work and live with dignity.

    ‘The ECLT Foundation, therefore, shares the FCA’s view that eliminating child labour is “of utmost importance and a goal that must be pursued”.

    ‘For the tens of thousands of children and families who are benefiting from ECLT interventions and public-private partnerships working to help keep children in school and out of fields, it is imperative that the debate regarding collaboration towards eliminating child labour remain fair, fact-based and focused on the needs of the rights holders. Statements made by any actor, including the FCA, must be either truthful, or immediately retracted.

    ‘The ECLT Foundation remains committed to encouraging a public debate that is open, transparent, and accountable to the children and their families, who are ultimately impacted by this and other key international decisions.’