FIDH urges EU Council to adopt its position on Forced labour regulation

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The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and 17 other civil society organisations and trade unions wrote to the Council of the European Union (EU) to speed up negotiations to adopt a general approach to the proposed EU Forced Labour Regulation.

5 December 2023. FIDH has joined 17 civil society organisations and trade unions in writing to the Council of the European Union to urge its members to negotiate a General Approach for the institution regarding the proposed EU Forced Labour Regulation. The importance of such new rules cannot be stressed enough as 27.6 million people worldwide were in forced labour according to 2021 International Labour Organization data.

Back in September 2022, the European Commission proposed a regulation to ban products made using forced labour, including child labour, on the EU internal market. The Commission proposal covers all products made available on the EU market, whether made in the EU for domestic consumption and for export, or imported. It covers products of any type, including their components, from all sectors and industries.

The two committees leading on this file at the European Parliament - Internal Market & Consumer Protection and International Trade - already adopted their position on the proposal in October 2023. They are therefore both set to enter immediately into negotiations with the Council and the Commission. It is crucial that the Council also agrees on its General Approach to ensure that the legislation be approved before the end of the current EU term.

In their letter, FIDH and its partners stressed the need to include four core elements for a strong and effective regulation: an evidentiary regime adapted to forced labour; provisions on state-imposed forced labour; a one-stop shop EU-wide complaints mechanism; and remediation for affected workers.

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