India Committee of the Netherlands
+++ In solidarity with the oppressed in India +++


CHILDFRIENDLY SHOES - DOSSIER INFORMATION & ARTICLES
2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - <2000
May 23, 2017:
‘CSR by global brands must look beyond tier-1 of leather supply chain in India’ (The Hindu Business Line):
Ethical trade and corporate social responsibility (CSR) may be the stated top priorities of global brands, but most high-end leather footwear, garments and accessories brands sourcing goods from three Indian hubs — Agra, Kolkata and Tamil Nadu — are unaware of poor wages, caste and gender discrimination, appalling working conditions and environment hazards beyond the first-tier of the supply chain, says a recent report by a Dutch non-profit organisation, ICN.
May 23, 2017:
Damning report on conditions of leather workers (Thozhilalar Koodam):
In March 2017, the India Committee for the Netherlands (ICN), a human rights NGO, published a report titled Do leather workers matter? The report focused on the three major leather production regions – Kolkata, Agra and the Vaniyambadi-Ambur area in Tamil Nadu. Apart from the literature research, the report draws from interviews with 166 workers of 46 companies and 14 home workshops in 2011 and 2012.
Apr 11, 2017:
Rights of Indian Leather Workers Systematically Violated (GreenStitched):
Around 2,5 million workers in the Indian leather industry often face unacceptable working conditions that violate their human rights and seriously affect their health. Toxic chemicals used in tanneries often very negatively impact the health of the workers. Less known are the many labour and other human rights issues in the leather industry like wages below the stipulated minimum wage, child labour, the exploitation of home-based workers, the difficulty to organize in trade unions and the discrimination of Dalits (‘outcastes’).
This is in short the plight of leather workers that is described in more detail in the report Do leather workers matter? Violating labour rights and environmental norms in India’s leather production.
Apr 5, 2017:
Report shines light on human rights, labour abuses in India’s leather industry (EasternEye):
A new report has highlighted the hazardous conditions in some of India’s leather industries, with some 2.5 million workers said to endure unacceptable working conditions that violate their human rights and pose a serious risk to their health while making garments for western markets.
Among the findings was the major impact that the toxic chemicals used in tanneries have had on workers, many of whom suffer from skin diseases, eye inflammation and cancer.
Apr 3, 2017:
Indian homeworkers sewing shoes for major footwear brands (HomeWorkers Worldwide):
Great to see this important new report on exploitation in the Indian leather industry from India Committee of the Netherlands recognise that female homeworkers are ‘among the most precarious workers … (facing) insecure and unprotected work, poverty wages and unsafe working conditions.’ The report also usefully summarises responses from major footwear retailers.
Mar 25, 2017:
Report examines grim Bangladesh leather trade, links to West (AP News):
Hazardous, heavily polluting tanneries, with workers as young as 14, supplied leather to companies that make shoes and handbags for a host of Western brands, a nonprofit group that investigates supply chains says.
The report by New York-based Transparentem, released Friday to The Associated Press, didn’t say the leather ends up in American and European companies’ products, only that the manufacturers of some of those goods receive it.
Some companies say leather in their products was made outside Bangladesh, and manufacturers concur. Still, in response to the report, most brands switched factories, banned Bangladesh leather or demanded improvements.
Mar 25, 2017:
Western brands respond to report on Bangladesh tanneries (NZ Herald):
Leather made with child labor and under dangerous, polluted conditions in Bangladesh went to factories that produced goods for major U.S. and European shoe and handbag brands and companies, according to a report released Friday by New York-based nonprofit Transparentem. Those named in the report generally said they were concerned about the conditions at the tanneries, but that leather used in their particular products was made elsewhere.
Here’s a detailed look at their responses.
Mar 21, 2017:
Child labourers exposed to toxic chemicals dying before 50, WHO says (The Guardian):
Children as young as eight, working in the tanneries of Bangladesh producing leather that is in demand across Europe and the USA, are exposed to toxic chemical cocktails that are likely to shorten their lives, according to a new report.
Mar 20, 2017:
Report: Dalit workers in India’s leather industry suffer serious rights abuses (IDSN):
A report released by the India Committee on the Netherlands finds that workers in India’s leather industry suffer serious labour and human rights violations. Most of the 2,5 million leather workers are found to be Dalits and Muslims, exploited due to their marginalised status. India supplies leather to huge global brands.
Mar 20, 2017:
ICN Calls on Major Brands to Address Exploitation in Indian Leather Industry (Sustainable Brands):
The textile and apparel industries are widely known to have considerable environmental and social impacts on both local and global levels. The leather industry is no exception — in India, approximately 2.5 million workers are exposed to poor working conditions that violate their human rights and negatively affect their health. Exposure to toxic chemicals, unfair wages, child labor, discrimination of Dalits (‘outcastes’) and the difficulty to organize in trade unions are just some of the many challenges workers face according to a new report by the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN).
Mar 16, 2017:
Brands urged to tackle exploitation in India's leather industry (Just-Style.com):
An increase in the traceability and transparency of the full supply chain is just one of the recommendations made to brands and retailers sourcing leather from India, in a new report that claims the rights of leather workers in the country are systematically violated.
The 'Do leather workers matter?' research by the India Committee of Netherlands (ICN), found that around 2.5m workers in the Indian leather industry often face unacceptable working conditions that violate their human rights and seriously affect their health.
Mar 16, 2017:
Leather industry reacts to ICN human rights report (Leather International):
A long-awaited report on human rights issues in the Indian leather supply chain has been published.
Human rights organisation India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) called for greater transparency after finding that around 2.5 million workers often face unacceptable working conditions.
Mar 16, 2017:
Report highlights violation of labour rights in Indian leather industry (Apparel Resources):
According to Do leather workers matter – Violating labour rights and environmental norms in India’s leather production report, female homeworkers face insecure and unprotected work, receive poverty wages and work under unsafe conditions in tanneries. Moreover, children are often involved in leather production in India, mostly in the unorganized part of the sector, working in smaller tanneries and workshops.
Mar 15, 2017:
Indian leather workers risk health, life to make shoes for global market: report (Thomson Reuters Foundation):
About 2.5 million Indian workers work long hours with toxic chemicals for poverty wages in the country's leather industry, making shoes and clothes for Western brands, a study has found.
In a report published on Wednesday, the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), a human rights organisation, called for greater transparency in supply chains.
Feb 21, 2017:
Skin Deep: Feeding the Global Lust for Leather (Undark Magazine):
Leather processing is big business in Bangladesh, India, and other parts of the developing world, where regulations are lax and poisons run freely.
Feb 4, 2017:
India: The Toxic Price of Leather (Pulitzer Center):
"The bubbles which you see are contaminated with chromium, and it is very poisonous."
Standing next to a field of wilted crops near his small village of Payundee, Sonalal Yadav carefully hops over a drainage canal, which is overflowing with white foam.
An acrid stench fills the air as the water below is churned up and funneled through the small channels onto nearby farmland. On its way, vegetation that hangs in the water is beginning to turn a dark brown color, and some plants are completely black.
"This water that you see comes from the tanneries. It goes to the treatment plant and then from the canal, it comes to the fields," explained Yadev, who is president of the area's local farmers community. "We were called the 'Kings of Roses.' Now, they have totally vanished. Here vegetables have also gone very bad. The vegetables have all become poisonous."
These tainted fields lie on the outskirts of Kanpur, a small city of some 2.5 million inhabitants, residing on the banks of India's holiest river, the Ganges. Along these banks, an ecological and health crisis has slowly developed, now engulfing a city that has gained notoriety in recent decades for the rise of its most successful export, leather.
Jan 2017:
Multi-stakeholder meeting on child labour in leather and footwear in Agra, India (16/17 February 2017) (Stop Child Labour):
On 16 - 17 February 2017, The Fair Labor Association, Stop Child Labour Coalition and iMentor are organizing a multi-stakeholder meeting titled Strengthening Children’s Rights and Decent Work in the Agra Leather and Footwear Cluster.
Dec 21, 2016:
Leather workers in Pakistan plagued by health issues and low income (FashionUnited):
Leather workers situated in Pakistan, one of the world’s leading leather producers, are suffering from a number of serious health problems according to the latest research from non-profit organizations SOMO and NOWCommunities. In addition, the 500,000 leather workers in Pakistan were found to be paid salaries much lower than the average cost of living, leaving them stuck in perpetual poverty.
Aug 25, 2016:
India's Dalit cattle skinners share stories of abuse (Al Jazeera):
From hospital wards to skinning fields, India's Dalit cattle skinners share stories of abuse and fears for their future.
Apr 12, 2016:
The Unmaking of Kanpur’s Leather Industry (The Wire):
Facing a multitude of problems including pollution regulations, 'gau mata' protectors and the scale economies of large mechanised slaughterhouses, Kanpur’s leather industry is facing a decline
Dec 13, 2012:
Stop Child Labour welcomes positive steps by shoe companies – much remains to be done (Stop Child Labour):
After a slow start a year ago at this moment 27 of the 28 companies have finally engaged with Stop Child Labour and provided information on their policies and practices on combating child labour and their CSR policies more generally. Quite a few companies have informed us that they will take additional steps to prevent and combat child labour and/or be more transparent about this.
Oct 8, 2012:
Toxic Tanneries: The Health Repercussions of Bangladesh’s Hazaribagh Leather (Human Rights Watch):
Most of this leather originates in tanneries in Hazaribagh, a neighborhood of Dhaka, the capital. Toxic Tanneries, released in October 2012, documents health problems among workers and residents of Hazaribagh’s slums related to unregulated pollution produced by these tanneries and dangerous working conditions within them. Many tanneries do not supply appropriate or sufficient protective equipment, or training to work with harmful chemicals and aging machinery; some managers deny sick leave or compensation to workers who fall ill or are injured on the job. Residents of Hazaribagh’s slums complain of illnesses such as fevers, respiratory problems, diarrhea, and skin, stomach, and eye conditions. Human Rights Watch calls on the government to immediately begin enforcing its environmental and labor laws in Hazaribagh’s tanneries. It also calls on international companies to ensure that all leather and leather goods originate from tanneries in compliance with international standards and Bangladeshi environmental and labor law.
Jul 26, 2012:
Members of European Parliament raise pertinent questions about tackling child labour in global footwear industry (Stop Child Labour):
MEPs Ria Oomen-Ruijten and Thijs Berman together raised a number of questions to the High Representative for Foreign Affairs as well as the European Commission about child labour in the leather footwear industry. Triggering these questions is the report Where the Shoe Pinches of SOMO made at the request of Stop Child Labour.
Jun 11, 2012:
'We want childfriendly shoes!' Child labour in shoe manufacturing (Stop Child Labour):
Shoes produced by children are still for sale in the Netherlands. This is one of the main conclusions of a recent study conducted by SOMO and the Stop Child Labour campaign. The large majority of Dutch shoe companies refused to cooperate with this investigation and did not respond to a questionnaire about what they do to eradicate child labour.
Jun 26, 2002:
Fire kills at least 42 workers in shoe factory in India:
Shree Jee International, a footwear manufacturing unit based in Agra, India and exporting to among others the UK and Ireland caught fire between 10-00 am and 10-15 am in the morning of May 24, 2002; resulting in a devastating accident. According to official figures, 42 workers died in the accident and 11 were injured.