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Written questions of the Dutch Parliament
to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Trade (Ministry of Economical Affairs),
concerning child labour in India

Questions of the members Ortega-Martijn and Voordewind (both Christian Union – CU), Van Baalen (Liberals - VVD), Van Dijk (Christian Democrats - CDA), Gillard (Labour Party - PvdA), Irrgang (Socialist Party - SP), Pechtold (Democrats - D66), Peters (Green Left - GroenLinks), Van der Staaij (Protestant Party - SGP), Thieme (Party for the Animals - PvdD), Verdonk (Member Verdonk) and Wilders (Freedom Party - PVV) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Trade (Ministry of Economical Affairs):

October 2, 2007

  1. Are you acquainted with the reports ‘The Price of Childhood’, ‘Seeds of Change’ and the just published report ‘Child bondage Continues in Indian Cotton Supply Chain’ of the India Committee of the Netherlands a.o. and the large number of publications about this issue in the Indian and international media?1

  2. Is it your opinion that this slavery-like and extensive form of child labour, which is related to cotton products sold in the Netherlands, should be addressed during the upcoming state visit to India as well as during the trade mission of Minister of Trade Mr. Heemskerk to India? Which other means do you want to deploy, such as a mission of the Human Rights Ambassador , to address child labour in the cottonseed sector and the extensive child labour in India in general?

  3. Do you intent to address the fact that India has not signed both child labour Conventions of the ILO (C138 en C182) during the earlier mentioned visits and also to address India through international organisations on the non-ratification of these Conventions? How can you promote that India embeds the constitutional right to education into a law and sets aside sufficient means to implement it?

  4. Are you willing to address companies that import cotton products from India the massive numbers of child labour at the beginning of the cotton chain? Can you stimulate them or come to an agreement with them to work together in the chain in order to produce cottonseed, cotton and cotton products made without child labour and under decent labour conditions?

  5. Is the government – in accordance with her policy on sustainable purchasing - prepared to make sure that cotton products (uniforms etc.) bought by the government are free of child labour and violations of labour rights?

  6. Do you intend to address multinationals active in The Netherlands, such as Bayer en Monsanto, on the fact that that they too are directly involved in this form of child labour. Are you prepared to address them on the pursuit of a cotton-chain free of child labour?

  7. What are the plans of the government to address this specific child labour problem in India and the child labour problem in general within EU and to jointly look for solutions? Is the government willing to address this topic during the upcoming EU-India Summit in Lisbon and in the context of the present negotiations between the EU and India about a free trade treaty?

  8. Are you prepared to answer these questions before the 24th of October in light of the visit of the Queen and the Minister of Economic Affairs to India?

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