Swiss NGO says no to child labour
Declaration Berne calls for ethical practices in chocolate production.GENEVA - As chocolate bunnies appear on shelves for Easter, a Swiss campaign group on Wednesday called the country's chocolate makers to end child labour in the production process.
"Easter time is chocolate time... Chocolate producers benefit from this, but not about a quarter million of children, who work for free in west Africa for the profits of the most important ingredient" cocoa, said Declaration Berne in a statement.
To promote its campaign called "No more Swiss chocolate from child labour," the NGO is distributing images of a chocolate bunny in tears.
Since the start of the campaign in February, the group said it collected 6,000 signatures. It plans to set up stands in several Swiss cities this Saturday for more people to sign up to its cause.
Declaration Berne said it contacted 18 companies on the issue, including Nestle, Barry Callebaut and Lindt & Spruengli, but only one said it would take measures to stop child labour.
Three others acknowledged the problem and said they were financing social projects in the region.
The NGO said it is petitioning for "transparent information on the conditions of production in cocoa-producing countries and a concrete engagement to improve them."
Switzerland is home to the largest chocolate-makers in the world. One of the chocolate giants, Barry Callebaut, is also one of the world's largest cocoa traders.
AFP / Expatica