Arisa – Advocating Rights in South Asia – works to improve working conditions in supply chains in South Asia.
Collaborating with partners in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, among others, Arisa monitors labour conditions in the production of clothing, leather, natural stone and vegetable seeds. Many supply chains of Dutch and European companies have malpractices and abuses of workers’ rights. Arisa prioritises the position of the most vulnerable in those production chains and works to eliminate child labour, forced labour and caste or gender discrimination.
How does Arisa work?
Arisa, together with partners in South Asia, investigates working conditions and appeals to Western companies if malpractices are found in their supply chains. Companies bear responsibility for preventing and addressing violations throughout their supply chains. If they are serious about doing so, Arisa enters into dialogue and collaboration with them.
Arisa also calls on governments to account for abuses in supply chains. Governments can do more with policy, supervision and diplomacy to improve working conditions in supply chains and encourage companies to do business in a socially responsible way. Arisa works together with Dutch and global networks on, for instance, improving CSR guidelines and legislation. With its own procurement, the government can set a good example by setting clear requirements on human rights.
Arisa supports partners in South Asia in improving the situation of workers in supply chains through, for example, training and access to grievance mechanisms. Arisa encourages dialogue on malpractices and risks in supply chains between companies and civil society organisations and trade unions.
Arisa not only identifies abuses and malpractices but works on structural improvements in supply chains too. Arisa contributes to better living and working conditions in South Asia: children go to school instead of to work, exploitation is tackled and wages improve, dismissed union members are allowed to return to work.
Arisa works in South Asia where many Western companies source raw materials or outsource production. They are densely populated countries with abundant availability of cheap labour and deeply rooted discrimination against Dalits and other marginalised groups embedded in society. Trade unions are few and union freedom is under pressure. All this, combined with weak government supervision, makes labour rights violations frequent in this region.