What are the Children’s Rights and Business Principles?
The Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBP) are the first comprehensive set of principles to guide companies on the full range of actions they can take in the workplace, marketplace and community to respect and support children’s rights. They have been developed on an international level by UNICEF, the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and NGO Save the Children in 2012.
The CRBP operates as a call for business to work together with other companies and non-profit organisations on the improvement of children’s rights. Via this international coalition of ‘unusual suspects’, all individual member organisations become stronger and enlarge their sphere of influence. Nowadays, representatives of more than 600 business, civil society, government and academic entities from 11 countries participate via face-to-face consultations and online platforms.
What is the Children’s Rights and Business Principles Commission?
In Belgium, a dedicated Children’s Rights and Business Principles Commission stimulates companies to implement the 10 principles in their corporate strategy and to take local action in the workplace, marketplace and community.
We do this on several levels:
- Offer an assessment of the company’s current policy on children’s rights
- Share inspiring cases of member companies taking concrete action on children’s rights
- Measure the impact of the members’ actions and stimulate continuous improvement
Why taking action on children’s rights in Belgium?
A significant question remains: why should companies invest time and money within the commitment of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, when Belgium has already ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its protocols?
- All companies should seek the achievement of the highest level of well-being for all children. Even through small actions, companies in Belgium can always improve the prosperity of children in the workplace (improve the well-being of their employees’ children) marketplace (respect the consumer rights of children) and community (empower children in their neighbourhood).
- Many issues related to children are often silenced, showing to the public a distorted overall picture of the situation.
- Nonetheless, UNICEF has relieved in 2012 that 16.6% of the children in Belgium live in relative poverty, confronting them to higher risk of deprivation.
- Moreover, especially since 2011, a large amount of refugees have been hosted on our territory. These refugees (both adults and children) however receive different treatment from the Belgian population and are unable to access basic services for their survival (housing, education, employment and healthcare). This typically reflects an issue of discrimination.
- Although child labour is not tolerated in the regular job ciricuit in Belgium, it persists among minorities in our country (illegal immigrants, Romas, …). These children are often victims of forced and derogatory labor.
- Disabled children still face discrimination and struggle to get fully accepted in our society.