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Fair Trade Celebrates Human Rights Day on December 10th, 2011

As a global movement we all agree Fair Trade aims to Empower disadvantaged producers and their communities. Our shared principles reflect business practices which are free from exploitation and based on respect for universal human rights, women's rights, child rights, minority and migrant rights, rights of the disabled, and labour rights. When we examine Fair Trade closely it becomes evident the underpinnings of our global movement are the United Nations Conventions on Human Rights and the internationally recognized conventions of the International Labour Organization (Read A Rights-Based Approach to Fair Trade: Human Rights Framework). Succinctly stated, without these international conventions, there would be no solid foundation for Fair Trade.

Over the past several posts I have been emphasizing the importance of integrating a Rights-Based Approach to Fair Trade as a means of empowerment. When an organization utilizes a Rights-Based Approach they recognize poverty as injustice and includes marginalization, discrimination, and exploitation as central causes of poverty. To integrate a Rights-Based Approach is to strengthen our trade partners not only in trade relations, but in their quality of life; to enjoy the freedoms internationally recognized as inherent to all human beings. 

The crucial step towards empowerment is raising awareness of these rights, to include women's rights. Unfortunately, the fact remains that for many of our producers their rights are not well known; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains an abstract idea, an international convention far from their immediate reality. Admittedly, the same is true for many Fair Trade supporters, retailers, importers, buyers and consumers. It is time for change. 

On Saturday, December 10, 2011 the world celebrates Human Rights Day. Considering the strong ties to our global movement, Fair Trade should be leading the way in recognizing the importance of this day! Regardless if you are a Fair Trade producer group, an importer, a coffee roaster, or a retailer, let's celebrate this day of international recognition of our human rights! 

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