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Parliamentary questions
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15 May 2018
Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-000017/2018

At international level, respect for human rights, including the rights of the child, is monitored and discussed in the United Nations (UN) framework, inter alia in the Human Rights Council and its treaty-based bodies. Child labour is also monitored by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

At regional level, human rights matters are addressed in the framework of the EU-Central America Association Agreement (AA) and the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA). Respect for fundamental human rights is an essential element of both Agreements. Furthermore the signatories have committed in the Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapter of the AA to effectively implement fundamental ILO Conventions(1) and in the PDCA to promote the fundamental principles and rights at work identified by the ILO's conventions. Child labour has been discussed in meetings of the TSD Sub-Committee under the trade part of the Agreement, most recently in June 2016. In general, countries politically committed to tackle the issue.

At national level, through its Delegations, one of the EU human rights priorities in Central America is to promote the implementation of international conventions and the protection of vulnerable groups, including children. The EU supports the elimination of child labour through development cooperation(2) in employment and education sectors. In Honduras such cooperation has helped strengthen the labour inspection regime, while in Nicaragua it has supported a project specifically addressing child labour, including in coffee plantations. In Guatemala, through our partnership with the ILO, the EU supported the formulation of the road map for a child labour free Guatemala, as well as capacity building programs for the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Commissions for the Eradication of child labour.

In addition, the EU promotes the uptake by companies of responsible business conduct, consistent with international guidelines, notably the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Under Directive 2014/95/EU on non-financial reporting, as of 2018 large EU companies will be required to report on their policies on inter-alia respect for human rights, social responsibility and treatment of employees.

(1)Inter alia Convention ILO 182 (elimination of worst forms of child labour), 138 (minimum working age), and 29 and 105 on forced labour.
(2)Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) and European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).

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