G7 Trade Ministers' Statement on Forced Labour
24 Oct 2021 09:11 PM
The Joint Statement issued recently (22 October 2021) by the G7 countries at the G7 Trade Track on Forced Labour.
We, the G7 Trade Ministers, share and are guided by the concern expressed by our Leaders in Carbis Bay in 2021 regarding the use of all forms of forced labour in global supply chains, including state-sponsored forced labour of vulnerable groups and minorities, including in the agricultural, solar and garment sectors. We affirm that there is no place for forced labour in the rules-based multilateral trading system. We acknowledge that on any given day there are about 25 million people subject to forced labour worldwide, and call on all countries, multilateral institutions and businesses to work together, including with survivors of forced labour, to eradicate forced labour from global supply chains.
We have taken seriously the task handed down to us by the G7 Leaders to identify areas for strengthened cooperation and collective efforts towards eradicating the use of all forms of forced labour from global supply chains. We recognise trade policy can be one of the important tools in a comprehensive approach to prevent, identify and eliminate forced labour in global supply chains. We further recognise that forced labour is a global problem and effective action should be based on international labour standards, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP), and international standards on responsible business conduct, including collective efforts in multilateral institutions such as the United Nations (UN), especially the International Labour Organization (ILO), and Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). We, therefore, appreciate the years of international cooperation that governments, workers organisations, and employers have undertaken in their own countries and multilateral institutions to comprehensively prevent forced labour and to provide victims of forced labour with protection and access to appropriate and effective remedies. We recall the 2021 G7 May Trade Communiqué and the 2019 Report on ending child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains by the ILO, OECD, International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). We further recall the commitments made by G7 Leaders in Elmau, 2015, to foster sustainable supply chains and by the G7 Social Ministers in Paris, 2019, to promote decent work, responsible business conduct and human rights due diligence in global supply chains and by G20 Labour and Employment Ministers in Mendoza, in 2018, to eradicate child labour, forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery.
We call on all countries, multilateral institutions and businesses to commit to uphold human rights and international labour standards, and respect relevant principles on responsible business conduct throughout global supply chains to prevent forced labour, protect victims of forced labour and provide remedy to victims of forced labour. This includes adherence to international labour standards set out in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow Up, utilising the ILO Guidelines Concerning the Measurement of Forced Labour, which sets out the Indicators of Forced Labour and implementing the UNGP. We recognise the important role of governments to eradicate forced labour, protect victims of forced labour, and improve global supply chain transparency and the implementation of the principles of business and human rights, as recognised by the UNGP. Governments can help achieve these goals through sharing risk-management tools, encouraging the collection of data and evidence, upholding international labour standards in their own business operations and procurement policies, and including respect for international labour standards in their assessments of publicly funded projects. We further recognise the need to uphold international labour standards in all areas of the economy, including within the digital economy and through the use of emerging technologies to improve the traceability of global supply chains, ensuring developing countries are not left behind.
We commit to further enhancing clarity and predictability for businesses. We further commit to promote guidance on human rights due diligence, including but not limited to responsible recruitment practices, in line with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Due Diligence Guidance on Responsible Business Conduct, including at sector levels; the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy and ILO general principles for fair recruitment; the IOM’s ethical recruitment standards; and the UNGP. We highlight the role of our National Contact Points for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in this regard. We commit to promote, within the relevant multilateral institutions such as the UN, ILO and OECD, common definitions and guidance to collect and share data and evidence on forced labour, and facilitate business compliance with international labour standards and international standards on responsible business conduct throughout global supply chains.
We will continue working together including through our own available domestic means and multilateral institutions to protect individuals from forced labour, to ensure that global supply chains are free from the use of forced labour and those who perpetrate forced labour are held accountable. We recognise the importance of continuing technical exchanges on how trade policy can contribute to the eradication of forced labour from global supply chains, engaging in dialogue with relevant stakeholders, including in developing countries, to further refine our best practices, and identifying modalities for sharing data and evidence. We commit to working closely with multilateral institutions such as the UN, ILO and OECD to promote effective implementation of the fundamental ILO Conventions, in particular the Forced Labour Convention (No. 29), including its 2014 Protocol, and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No. 105). We will work closely with the G7 Employment Task Force and the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers to promote human dignity, strengthen the implementation of international labour standards and responsible business conduct, and make individuals less vulnerable to forced labour and other labour rights violations.
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