Human rights

In a new report, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) in Switzerland and the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) in Sri Lanka present their review of the situation of local communities on the Jaffna Peninsula in the north of Sri Lanka. As Yves Bowie reports, thebiggest challenge for...
Human rights related challenges were on the agenda of this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London. As Rebekka Macht reports, a panel discussion focused on the need for businesses to integrate human rights concerns in their day to day operations and to cooperate with each other. On behalf of the...
In Germany, a National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights is about to be adopted. In our interview, Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler explains what the German government expects of tourism businesses in terms of human rights related due diligence. The primary objective is to prevent...
Die 2011 beschlossenen UN-Leitprinzipien für Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte beschreiben klar und deutlich die Sorgfaltspflichten von Unternehmen. Unternehmen müssen demnach die Risiken und Auswirkungen ihres Handelns untersuchen und sicherstellen, dass weder durch ihr eigenes Verhalten noch durch...
It is estimated that 30 to 45 percent of the 2.4 million orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya live in children’s homes or orphanages. Most of these institutions are supported by foreigners, many of them well intentioned. However, supporting institutions disrupts the family and community-based...
The extent to which children are sexually exploited in travel and tourism has increased drastically and the nature of the offences has changed dramatically. With a two-year “Global Study on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism”, ECPAT has now created the largest database ever which...
While tour operators usually take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and security of their customers, they usually at best commit to apply “local standards” to their local staff and service providers. As Kundri Böhmer-Bauer points out, applying double standards is unethical when it...
The tourism industry has huge potential to positively impact children’s rights. That the sector accounts for one in every eleven jobs is just one reason why tourism features in three of the new Sustainable Development Goals, the success of which will determine outcomes for children all around the...
A diversified destination with a carefully planned supply chain may give poor rural women the opportunity for a fair share of the benefits created by tourism development. Yeşil Valiz Association in Turkey works with men and women on renegotiating gender relations and prepares rural women for...
Tourism development along the Northern and Eastern Sri Lankan coast is characterised by increasing involvement of the military. Several cases of land grabbing and displacement have been documented. In a study published in 2015, the Swiss Society for Threatened Peoples pointed out violations of...
The new ”Human Development Report 2015“, published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), describes the positive development effects of work, but also shows that they depend on certain conditions. This also applies to the tourism sector. While work generates income, secures livelihoods...
Respecting human rights along the entire supply chain is a major challenge for tourism enterprises. With outsourcing becoming more and more common, companies need to make increased efforts to identify and prevent exploitative working conditions, human trafficking and forced labour. Especially the...
In early November 2015, hotel housekeeping staff in many parts of the world drew attention to their work and unacceptable working conditions. The “Global Week of Action“ was part of the international trade union campaign „For a safe and secure work place“, organised by the International Union of...
Hard work, withheld passports and twelve hour working days without breaks or overtime pay – this is the reality for migrants working at hotels in Dubai, according to a report by the Swedish organisations Swedwatch and Fair Action. The findings, derived from interviews in three selected hotels and...
Tourism has entered a period of “Great Acceleration” in humanity’s global environmental impact. Even if efficiency gains were substantial, these would be outpaced by arrival numbers, growth in the average distances travelled, and a trend towards greater resource use intensities in a small but...
Aerotropolis projects are among the largest megaprojects pursued by governments and corporations. These airport centric developments destroy farmland and forests, and act as economic enclaves, fostering corporate growth and excluding host communities. All over the world, developments called an ‘...
Tourists spending their holidays in Greece this year are often directly confronted with the misery of the refugees stranded on the Eastern Aegean islands. As Bread for the World’s migration expert Sophia Wirsching reports, the refugee crisis happens in the midst of the economic crisis in Greece....
Every year, large numbers of tourists visit the Chilean Easter Island Rapa Nui to see the well-known Moai statues. As Corina Schaub reports, this has serious consequences for the local population. In March and April, indigenous people occupied the Rapa Nui national park in order to draw attention...
By Tulika Bansal and Vicky Bowman Myanmar is going through a “triple transition”: from a military system to democratic governance, from a centrally directed economy to a market-oriented economy, and from 60 years of conflict to peace in its border areas inhabited by different ethnic groups. Ethnic...
By Christina Kamp When tourists pay to "offset" their emissions from air travel, an equal amount of emissions needs to be reduced elsewhere. These reductions must be real and additional. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows countries like Germany to meet part of their reduction commitments...
The story of Karikkattukuppam is one of the many real stories of the betrayal of the tsunami affected people by their own state. Many of the South Indian coastal communities affected by the “monster wave” in December 2004 were made to vacate their ancestral land. They were relocated to places away...
In post-conflict situations and in the aftermath of natural disasters, tourism is often one of the first sectors to flourish again. In many cases, governments promote tourism even before initiating a process of reconciliation or reconstruction.Drawing upon the results of a recent study on human...
The Sri Lankan government promotes the country’s image of a peaceful and prospering holiday destination – despite Sri Lanka’s gruesome past. As Angela Mattli shows in her article based on a more comprehensive report by the Swiss Society for Threatened Peoples, after 26 years of civil war the human...
From Volunteering to Voluntourism - Challenges for the Responsible Development of a Growing Travel Trend. DIN A4, 24 pages. Voluntourismus- this means short-term volunteering with high adventure and experiential content - has become increasingly important in the past years in Germany. Many...
The dominant development approach over the last decades - based around deregulation of markets, increasing power of multinational corporations, unaccountable multilateral institutions and trade liberalisation - has failed in its aims to meet the needs and rights of all citizens. Instead, it has...
In 2022, Qatar is to host the Soccer World Cup. With the boom in the construction sector, the difficult situation faced by South and South East Asian and African migrant workers in Qatar (including exploitation and forced labour) has attracted public attention. In an interview, Green MEP Barbara...
Country flags draped over cars, country flags on car side mirrors, makarapas (highly decorated hard hats), and vuvuzelas (long plastic trumpet-like instruments that either provide the unique background noise to South African sport or, for some non-South Africans, create an unbearable roar), were...
Narrated by Juraci Sampaio My name is Juraci Sampaio and I have a story to tell: I’m fifty-three years old, born in Guaraçaí, São Paulo state. My parents were country people. They had a small farm and were able to provide a good educational structure for us. My mom was involved with politics and...
In the context of the upcoming mega sports events in Brazil, the protection and rights of children must also be on the agenda, says Dorothea Czarneckiof ECPAT Germany. Social realities in Brazil do not permit many families to provide the protected space needed for children to grow up in a healthy...
Non-governmental organisations and tour operators in the German-speaking area have joined forces and founded the "Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism" in order to develop concepts about how tourism businesses can fulfil their responsibility of respecting human rights. The members want to acquire and...
The Saharawi refugee camps in the South-West of Algeria are visited every year by thousands of foreigners from all over the world: politicians, NGO members, students, researchers, artists and journalists, even individuals and families from all walks of life participate in events organized by the...
Ben White, writer and commentator on Palestinian issues makes this stark observation: “Palestine should not have problems attracting tourists, with its rich blend of history, religious significance, local culture, as well as the varied and breathtaking scenery.
Since the revolution in Tunisia in January 2011, package tourism has recovered a bit. However, as Eveline Brändle-Ouertani reports, hotels, restaurants and traders are still suffering because many Europeans consider a trip to Tunisia rather unsafe. The economy, which the government had most...
Tourists travelling to Sri Lanka might unintentionally support businesses linked to war crimes and human rights violations. We asked Fred Carver, coordinator of the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, why travellers should take a closer look at who benefits from their holiday. The Sri Lanka...
Prior to the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM9) in Vientiane, Laos, in November, the 9th Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF9) will be held from 16th to 19th October, 2012. The civil society event is about people’s solidarity against poverty and for sustainable development. In cooperation with partners...
Coastal communities and others in ecologically important areas are primary stakeholders of the eco-system. Mangroves, rain forests, and riparian forests are being destroyed at alarming rates. Unless the local communities are partners in the protection and conservation of these areas, eco-...
The UN Committee on World Food Security has adopted "Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests". The guidelines are meant to protect local populations against land grabbing. Big investors, including from the tourism sector, have increasingly...
In Arthungal, 30 km north of Alappuzha in Kerala, South India, the Kerala Independent Fishermen's Federation has been one of the most active local groups in the fight against tourism's expansion. Recently, they fought to help people regain access to a local church, which had been cut off by a new...
The Atacora region in the North West of Benin is of great natural beauty and one of the country's main tourist attractions. As Eva Maria Helm reports, people mainly live on subsistence agriculture, which is affected by drought and soil erosion. Many people are illiterate and suffer from poverty...
The human rights related responsibilities of companies have been posing new challenges to the tourism industry. Peter-Mario Kubsch, CEO of Studiosus Reisen, summarises what Studiosus is doing and going to do in order to strengthen human rights in the company's operations.
(Bonn, 02.02.2012) As every year, Tourism Watch will participate in the International Tourism Convention in Berlin from March, 7th - 11th 2012. Therefore, we already would like to announce our event during the ITB and would like to invite you: On Wednesday, 7th of March at 4pm, we will organise...
Tourism Concern, together with six NGOs, under them EED Tourism Watch and Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism (ECOT) have renewed calls for the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to enable poor communities negatively affected by tourism to have a voice in UNWTO processes. This is vital if human...
By Christina Kamp. All actors in tourism have to honour their obligations under the international human rights framework. With reference to our study on human rights and tourism, published by the German Church Development Service (EED) earlier this year*, we asked Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General...
By Sumesh Mangalassery The decision of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva (2010) that affirms water as a human right is a major success for civil society groups who have been fighting for community water rights for decades. It is considered to be historic and a big step in the right direction....
Human rights issues in tourism have not played an important role in the German parliament so far. Christoph Strässer, MP (SPD), points out that this might change, as this year the Bundestag is going to address business and human rights. At a panel discussion organised by EED Tourism Watch at the...
By Hans Ulrich Schudel (SST) Just a week ago, we saw in the newspapers the photo of a young demonstrator in Tunisia. With both hands, she held up a poster saying something like: "We've had enough, we intervene!" We are currently witnessing an unusual development. In various countries, in...
Corporate human rights policies and human rights impact assessments for tourism projects can contribute to preventing adverse impacts of tourism on human rights, according to experts at a panel discussion on tourism and human rights at the International Tourism Exchange (ITB) on 11th March, 2011,...
How can the media help to sustainably sharpen awareness of the universal validity of human rights? These and other challenges in the context of human rights will be the subject of this year's "Global Media Forum" organised by Deutsche Welle. It includes panel discussions and workshops,...
By Christina Kamp Pacific islands countries are among the most vulnerable to climate change, which becomes a life and death issue in the Pacific. The impacts of climate change vary according to the geographical formation of each country. To find out how climate change is affecting people's lives...
The sexual exploitation of children is not inevitable. That was the message coming out of Rio de Janeiro where 137 governments met with children and youth representatives, international organizations, NGOs and private sector companies. As Mechtild Maurer reports, the Third World Congress against...

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