Fair Trade and Human Rights: A Celebration of Human Rights Day
What is Human Rights Day all about?
Human Rights Day is celebrated on December 10th each year to commemorate the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. This document was the first enunciation of the inherent and inalienable rights due to each person simply because she or he is a human being. This year, Human Rights Day also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966. The two Covenants, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights, and set out the civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings.
How does Fair Trade promote Human Rights?
Human rights correspond to the demands of human dignity and entail the fulfillment of the essential needs of the human person in all spheres of life. The principles of Fair Trade promote several of the norms vital to any articulation of human rights. Many of the requirements for a Fair Trade certification are also called for in International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. These include the standard of a guaranteed price minimum for producer cooperatives, for example which fulfills the right to work and economic development found in article 6 of the covenant. Additionally, the call in article 7 of the covenant for the enjoyment of just and favorable conditions of work which ensure equal remuneration for both women and men as well as safe and healthy working conditions are also standards articulated in the principles of Fair Trade.
Lastly, Fair Trade standards ensure what article 11 of the covenant calls the “right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for herself and her family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.” One cooperative in Nicaragua achieved this standard of living thanks to the benefits of Fair Trade. The increased revenue allowed the community to install functioning bathrooms and bring enough doctors to serve over 900 people.
How can YOU use Fair Trade as a way to support human rights?
- BUY: How can you impact the human rights of producers around the world? By purchasing Fair Trade products and supporting the Fair Trade movement by signing up for the Fair Trade Campaigns newsletter or by starting a Fair Trade campaign in your community!
- LEARN: Interested in learning more about Human Rights and the work being done to assure those rights to all people? Visit the website for the UN Office for the High Commissioner on Human Rights for more information.
- TAKE ACTION: Be sure to also check out some of the awesome ways you can celebrate Human Rights Day this Thursday, December 10! Don’t forget to bring the Fair Trade chocolate and show your support of #HumanRightsDay -happy celebrating!