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Cablegate: Bolivian Firms Commit to Eradicate Child Labor

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DE RUEHLP #1829 2412109
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 282109Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8334
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 8273
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 5630
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 9571
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RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 6502
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 1236
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS LA PAZ 001829

SIPDIS

DOL PLEASE PASS TO ANA ASLAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ELAB PGOV PREL BL
SUBJECT: BOLIVIAN FIRMS COMMIT TO ERADICATE CHILD LABOR

1. (U) At an August conference organized by the Bolivian
Institute for External Commerce (IBCE), the private sector
made public its efforts to eradicate child labor and adopt
corporate social responsibility measures. Bringing together
members from the private sector (agricultural, industrial,
forest and manufacturing), the Vice Ministry of Medium and
Large Enterprise and Industries, the Bolivian Institute of
Normalization and Quality (IBNORCA), the International Labor
Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Children,s
Education Fund (UNICEF), IBCE proposed the idea of a social
certification &Free of Child Labor8 to companies that
commit to preventing and eradicating child labor in Bolivia.
2. (U) This IBCE initiative is unique as it originated in the
private sector. In March 2008, IBNORCA set up a Technical
Committee called &Personal Protection ) Free of Child
Labor8 to develop a &Free of Child Labor8 norm.
Initially, four businesses are participating and working to
get more on board. The goals of this norm are to eradicate
child labor, to respect and value children's rights, to
increase the competitive advantage of Bolivian products in
the global market, and to contribute in Bolivia's compliance
with relevant international conventions. Vice Minister of
Medium and Large Enterprises and Industries Mario Molina
recognizes that this initiative represents a &big step8 as
it includes ethics in business. This norm is the first of
three; the other two will be &Free of Discrimination8 and
&Free of Forced Labor.8
3. (U) The &Free of Child Labor8 norm seeks to incorporate
changing global characteristics. Bolivian companies
recognize that in order to become more globally competitive,
they need to be more socially responsible by doing their part
in preventing child labor. According to UNICEF, 10% of
Bolivian children between age 7 and 13 are working out of
economic necessity; the majority of them is exploited by
employers and is not attending school. Adopting the norm is
done on a voluntary basis and companies are required to
respect codes of conducts that are specific to their sector.
GOLDBERG

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