Fact Check: Are there grave stones produced by child labor?

In the context of children’s work on gravestones, claims are repeatedly made that will be examined in more detail below:

Claim 1: There is no child labor at gravestones!

The fact is:
Unannounced visits to Indian quarries have shown time and again that children are working on hammer drills. This is documented in photos, including by a photographer who has worked for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. (siehe: Beitrag)
Dusseldorf University of Applied Sciences also prepared an opinion on this question and stated that grave stones from India, China, Vietnam and the Philippines could be used for child labor. (siehe: Gutachten/Beitrag)

Claim 2: Children can not work on natural stones in quarries, because they are too heavy!

The fact is: If the natural stones (rough blocks in quarries) are too heavy for children, then of course they are also for the adults. Clever: It is not assumed by child labor experts that the children would have to lift inhospitable natural stones while working in quarries. But by contradicting such a (fictional) assumption, one makes use of the simple rhethoric gimmick: first put a false claim into space, then vehemently contradict it – and thus allegedly reduce the total assumption of child labor in Indian quarries to absurdity. But as I said, this is just a rhethoric gimmick that needs to be debunked.

Claim 3: The quarries in India, where raw materials for gravestones are mined, are highly industrialized, so that no children could work there. The machines used in these quarries are all too complicated to be used by children.

The fact is: It is true that there are also highly industrialized quarries in India – in which you can not come in without an invitation but not unannounced (as how they are actually worked there, no one will actually be able to maintain serious!). But it is also true that there are numerous quarries in Southern India that are working “conservatively”: with holes that either fill explosive charges or are needed for diamond saws. These holes are, however, set with jackhammersand it is precisely on such machines that child laborers (as defined by the ILO Convention 182) have been found again and again. That’s the key point.

Claim 4: It can not be guaranteed at all that the tombstones can be traced back to the quarry. A stonemason can not control every supply chain and make sure that no children have worked there.

The fact is: The stonemason does not even have to check that himself. There are external “service providers” who specialize in this.

XertifiX, for example, has been controlling natural stone supply chains for many years and issuing the natural stone seals when the supply chain can be traced back to the quarry and the certification requirements at the production sites are met. With other words, if tombstones were certified with the XertifiX seal, then the quarry was also checked unannounced and by this ensured, among other things, that (with very high probability) there are no children working there. This is important to know for relatives, traders and stonemasons, cemetery administrations and politicians changing cemetery legislation.

So if in the future you meet someone who claims that Indian gravestones can not do child labor at all, then you can answer with a clear conscience that this is just rubbish.

This does not mean that Indian tombstones are always produced with child labor. That would be just nonsense (and no one will claim reputable)! But that means very well, that one should always make sure that the tombstones are not made with child labor by regular and reliable (!), unannounced (!) checks at Indian tombstones.

2019-08-20T23:30:17+02:00August 20th, 2019|

BMZ: Minister Müller demands from companies supply chain responsibility

At the 5th Future Forum “Making Globalization Righteous”, Federal Minister Gerd Müller clearly stated that companies are responsible for their supply chains: “Companies must ensure that human rights are respected in supply chains.” He emphasizes positively that many companies are now voluntarily moving forward. But he also points out that this is far from sufficient: “If we come to the conclusion at the end of the year that the voluntary approaches are not sufficient, we will legally oblige the big companies. Best at the European level – if necessary, but also nationally. That’s how we set it in the coalition agreement. ”

Please refer: https://www.bmz.de/de/presse/reden/minister_mueller/2019/februar/190220_rede_zukunftsforum.html

2019-08-19T15:54:27+02:00August 19th, 2019|

In own thing: New XertifiX standard

We are pleased to announce the updated XertifiX standard: The XertifiX-Standard

Over the past few months, we have updated our standard in a complex process involving many different stakeholders. The final version was approved by a decision-making body on 22.08.2018 and subsequently approved by the XertifiX board.

 

2018-09-21T09:56:20+02:00September 21st, 2018|

Brandenburg: Prohibition of grave stones from child labor

„Brot für die Welt“ begrüßt den Plan des Landes Brandenburg, Kommunen zum Verbot von Grabsteinen aus Kinderarbeit zu ermächtigen. Thilo Hoppe, Leiter der Grundsatzabteilung des Hilfswerk macht jedoch auf einige Aspekte aufmerksam, die es dabei zu beachten gilt. Die Kommunen müssten festlegen, welche Zertifikate zum Nachweis von fairen Grabsteinen zugelassen werden. Die Kommunen dürften mit dieser Entscheidung nicht allein gelassen werden. Es wäre daher noch die Aufgabe des Landes, den Kommunen Vorgaben zu machen, welche Zertifizierer es gibt und als seriös einzustufen sind.

Siehe: “Separate chaff and wheat at the certifiers”(German)

2018-09-24T15:14:21+02:00September 18th, 2018|

State Government of North Rhine-Westphalia: Circular Directive on the certification of gravestones

“The state government is stepping up its fight against child labor: in the future, tombstones from China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam may only be erected in North Rhine-Westphalia if they have been produced with reasonable probability without the worst forms of child labor. Commenting on today’s Cabinet decision, Minister Laumann said: “The ban on building tombstones from the worst forms of child labor came into force in May 2015. We now make nails with our heads and make sure that the theory of law finally becomes lived practice. Human dignity is inviolable. This must apply even more so with regard to the problem of child labor. That is why we want to put a clear seal on the worst forms of exploitation. ” Holthoff-Pförtner will now initiate the procedure for the recognition of certification bodies. ”

XertifiX welcomes the step of the state government extraordinarily that in NRW grave stones from unfair production will be effectively excluded in the future!

Please refer: Fight against child labor: Staete Government decrees circular on the certification of gravestones” (German)

Please refer: Circular Directive (German)

2019-09-16T17:29:57+02:00September 4th, 2018|

Hesse: New funeral law

On August 22, 2018, the Hesse Landtag passed the new funeral ordinance. One important change: Municipalities may in future ban tombstones made with exploitative child labor from the cemeteries. The new ordinance allows municipalities to ask for a complete documentation or equivalent certificates as proof of production without exploitative child labor.
Please refer:
TASPO: “Neues Friedhofs- und Bestattungsgesetz in Hessen”

2019-09-10T09:25:42+02:00August 27th, 2018|

Gravestones from child labor: It is NRW’s turn now

For years, the prohibition of gravestones from child labor in NRW has been suspended by decree. With that, it is still possible to set up tombstones from child labor in NRW. Even worse: It is not possible for municipalities and church cemetery authorities to ban gravestones from child labor – because the legal basis in NRW is missing or is on ice.

Background: The funeral law was already adjusted in 2014 so that grave stones from child labor were banned ( we reported ). However, the then red-green state government wanted to further safeguard itself and commissioned reports to examine the legal situation and the existence of child labor in countries of origin (including India, China, Turkey). Until the expert opinion was issued, the ban was suspended by a decree in April 2015. (we reported)
Meanwhile, the reports are available: The reports showed, among other things, that child labor can be expected in Indian quarries. (we reported) Of which even quarries can not be excluded, in which material is produced for grave stones. Nevertheless, the state government has not enforced the prohibition of such gravestones until today.

What many do not know: Even if there is no child labor in an Indian quarry, the working conditions for adult workers are sometimes so catastrophic that after a few years of unprotected work in such a quarry, they will get the deadly and incurable disease of silicosis. This also applies to highly industrialized quarries in the south of India , as long as they are not using wet-processing or work with adequate respiratory protection (FFP2). That means: Regardless of the issue of child labor of gravestones, there is a lot to be said for keeping the working conditions in Indian quarries independently controlled so that this does not happen anymore!

On the occasion of the Day Against Child Labor, we call on the government in North Rhine-Westphalia to fulfill its responsibilities and finally ban gravestones from child labor effectively in NRW.

     

     

2018-06-12T11:55:06+02:00June 12th, 2018|

New Project: Fight against silicosis

On 01. May 2018 our new project for the control of silicosis and tuberculosis in Indian quarry areas starts.
The project is carried out by our partner organization GRAVIS, with whom we already implement some of our school projects. Objectives of the project include:

  • Expand knowledge and awareness of lung health among quarry workers and quarry owners in the Thar Desert region.
    Improve the health status of quarry workers through Village Health Workers (VHWs) and medical services aimed at improving lung health.
  • Improving the nutritional status of quarry workers through food gardens, training and capacity building.
  • Lobbying: Contact with local government and commitment to better health care facilities for quarry workers.

OVERALL GOAL: The project aims to reduce overall silicosis and tuberculosis in the quarries of the Thar Desert in India and promote lung health in the local quarry communities.

The project is financed by the generous donations of the Gebhard-Müller-Schule (SMV) and supporting groups. Thank you very much!

Further information: Das Silikose-Projekt

2018-09-19T11:38:53+02:00May 1st, 2018|

Book from Prof. Eberlei: Gravestones from the hands of children

literally from the press release of the Hochschule Düsseldorf:
“New HSD study calls for action by German states”

The prohibition on erecting gravestones from countries in which exploitative child labor predominates must now also be rigorously implemented. So the conclusion of Prof. Dr. med. Walter Eberlei of the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf (HSD), whose book “Grave stones aus Kinderhand” has just been published. The book presents the results of a study on child labor in the natural stone sector of important supplier countries for Germany. According to this information, stones from India, Vietnam and the Philippines provide evidence of child labor in the natural stone sector, which is highly probable in China. More than half of all tombstones erected in Germany come from India and China.

In 2014, the North Rhine-Westphalian Landtag changed the NRW funeral law and banned the erection of tombstones from countries whose natural stone sector is in violation of the international law ILO convention against exploitative child labor. Stones from such countries may only be used if they have been certified as child labor free. However, the implementation of the law was suspended by decree because there was no clarity as to which supplier countries the certification requirement should apply to. The study of the HSD political scientist eliminates this ambiguity.

Professor Eberlei: “All federal states are obliged to implement in their laws the convention of international law ratified by Germany against child labor.”

The now published book on the topic contains detailed country analyzes on India, China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brazil as well as summary evaluations. A ten-person team of scientists, also from affected supplier countries, participated in the study. Client for the research was the state government in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Walter Eberlei (ed.): Gravestones from the hands of children. Child labor in quarries of the global South as a political challenge. Frankfurt / M .: Brandes & Apsel, 2018.”

Please refer to: Press release

2018-09-21T09:40:26+02:00April 5th, 2018|

Donors on a world trip by bicycle

Ralph Lang and Imke Frodermann, two teachers of the Gebhard Müller School and important “pillars” of the donor group from Biberach, cycled around the globe in 2017 to the Kerala Bhakar School in Rajasthan (one of our present social projects). The world tour on the bike can be followed on their website . The visit of the school and the partner organization GRAVIS in December 2017 can be viewed in a small photo show.

Report of the visit in India: Report
Fotoshow: Impressionen aus Indien
Social Project: Kerala Bhakar Schule

2018-01-19T09:46:36+02:00January 19th, 2018|