Monday, 26 July 2010

Facing up to Responsibilities

In the run-up to the World Cup in South Africa, there have been campaigns for improved access to water and sanitation, responsible tourism, promotion of basic education, some of which have been supported by the private sector and NGOs, and they have established a link between football, social responsibility and the respect of human rights.

Companies associated with the World Cup, as with other major sporting events, must ensure that workers they employ are treated fairly, and their rights to a fair wage, to organize, to bargain collectively, and against exploitation are respected. Manufacturers must ensure that in their supply chain there is no exploitation of workers in developing countries, and no use of exploitative child labour or forced labour. Construction companies, catering companies, and other service businesses should not encourage practices that restrict trading opportunities for small traders and other businesses. They should also make sure that they are not in any way complicit in trafficking of women or children.

The private sector needs to enter into dialogue with host governments, and governing bodies, such as FIFA, raising concerns of where companies’ responsibility to respect international human rights standards may be compromised by the states’ lack of willingness to protect its citizens. Ignorance or inaction are tantamount to complicity.

When apartheid ended in South Africa, it joined the international community of open, democratic countries. Such countries do not erect walls with their neighbours; nor do they prevent their poorest and vulnerable citizens from practicing their trade legally. The peaceful transition of South Africa was meant to be an example of removing barriers and opening frontiers.

Tear down those walls.

Excerpt from: World Cup South Africa 2010 - Facing up to Responsibilities. Steve Ouma, Institute for Human Rights and Business.

An eye-opening read for those interested in digging deep into the human rights issues associated with large-scale sporting events and the social responsibility obligations for destinations.

What would destination bidding requirements for human rights look like? What would be included? How would a destination respond to ensure concerns for things like housing, migrant workers, fair labour and human trafficking were addressed?

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