IB CAS students write to Woolworths, Coles and Aldi to speak out on human rights issue
A Senior School Amnesty International group has been meeting regularly as part of IB CAS Advocacy. Most of the IB Global Politics class has been attending. During this time the group has researched current Amnesty Australia campaigns, with particular emphasis on refugees and human rights issues. The group discovered child labour and human rights abuses were occurring in palm oil plantations in Indonesia. We decided to write letters to Coles, Woolworths and Aldi, who stock products containing palm oil harvested from this source, requesting them to address this concern.
The group was privileged to receive a visit from prominent human rights lawyer Ebony Birchall, who recently won the Manus Island class action. The visit has enhanced our awareness of human rights abuses around the world.
The students who worked on the letter are Emily Borrud, Maurice Monster, Camille Jackson, Jarryd Webb, Grigoris Panaretos, Matthew Dekker, David Xiang, James Inglezos, Jacqueline Gazal, Sara Al-Shameri, Cara Wallen, Tony Fang, Callum Henderson and Kiara Johnson with assistance from Jane Crew (Senior School Librarian).
The letter is as follows:
Dear Management team at Aldi Supermarkets,
We are a group of students from St Andrews Cathedral School who are a part of an Amnesty International group and we have been researching the harvesting of palm oil.
As school students, we are concerned that some children are not receiving an adequate education, as well as sufficient compensation for their work in palm oil plantations. We understand the necessity for harvesting palm oil but this is not a valid excuse to exploit children. We ask that you abide by the internationally accepted U.N Declaration of Human Rights Article 26 which states “Everyone has the right to education”.
It is disappointing to see this behaviour from such a large company, when you have the resources to make a change and help this region’s local community.
Therefore, we would like to be assured that the products we buy from your store are not the result of child labour. We frequently buy your products and we are concerned that your products from brands such as Nestle, Unilever and Procter & Gamble, do not have adequate human rights safeguards.
We are specifically concerned about products using palm oil from Wilmar’s palm oil plantations, as Amnesty International has discovered child labour and the abuse of worker’s rights on Wilmar plantations.
We hope you consider being a leader for human rights and implement safeguards against products of child labour stocked on YOUR shelves.
Accordingly, we ask that you:
Request palm oil giants to stop abusing children’s rights and improve their working practices immediately.
Address, in cooperation with Wilmar, the harms suffered by children, as well as all other workers, who have been involved in hazardous work on plantations.
Publicly disclose which of your products contains palm oil from Wilmar’s Indonesian operations.
The Students of St Andrew’s Cathedral School Amnesty International Group: