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[Nettime-nl] Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and India Committee of the Net
Clean Clothes Campaign on Fri, 26 Oct 2007 23:07:00 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) falsely accused (Modified by Geert Lovink)

(hierbij een oproep aan nettimers in NL deze zaak nauwgezet te volgen. CCC zal binnenkort komen met een plan van aanpak hoe mensen hen in deze zaak kunnen ondersteunen. /geert)


Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and India Committee of the Netherlands
(ICN) falsely accused

During a state visit to India of the Dutch Queen and several ministers
and companies, the Indian Minister of Economic affairs, Shri Kamal Nath,
confronted the Dutch delegation with misleading information on the work
of the Clean Clothes Campaign and the India Committee of the
Netherlands, in relation to the factory FFI in Bangalore. The CCC sent
out a pres statement (see below) to rectify the information in the Dutch

FFI, which produces jeans mainly for the Dutch brand G-Star, refuses to
enter into any form of dialogue with unions and human rights
organisations in Bangalore - who were the first to report about the
labour law violations (end of 2005, beginning of 2006). Instead, FFI has
been systematically trying, via legal action, to prevent these
organisations from publicly reporting about what is going on in their

Without having heard the case the local Indian court banned local
organisations from speaking about FFI in July 2006 by putting a gag
order on these organisations. It is unclear when the case will be fully
tried by the court.

The CCC has taken up this case with the garment companies that source
from FFI. A complaint about the case was also filed with the Dutch
Government’s National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for
Multinational Enterprises. The direct result of the gag order is that
unions cannot operate freely anymore, and that companies cannot
implement a credible corporate social responsibility policy. Both CCC
and ICN have reported about this on their websites.

FFI has subsequently reacted to this by filing a court case against the
CCC, ICN, Xs4all and Antenna, charging them with cyber crime,
defamation, racism and xenophobia. The court has refused to accept that
the CCC and ICN want to defend themselves via lawyer, and has issued an
arrest warrant against all organisations and seven individual people. On
November 20th, CCC and ICN expect a decision whether or not the Indian
arrest warrant will become internationally valid.

In the meantime Amnesty International has objected to this legal action,
and has publicly voiced their concerns about the “continued harassment
of defenders of women workers’ rights and campaigners abroad”, and has
condemned the “the filing of apparently false criminal charges against
them, aimed at curbing their freedom of expression”.

Amsterdam, October 25th 2008

Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and India Committee of the Netherlands
(ICN) falsely accused

CCC and ICN forcefully deny that their information about labour rights
violations at the Indian jeans factory FFI is false, as the Indian
Minister for Economic Affairs yesterday claimed while talking to the
Dutch governmental delegation. The Dutch delegation, including the Dutch
Queen, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs and the
employers’ and business organisation as well as several companies are in
India for a state visit.

“We are shocked that the delegation has obviously let itself be taken by
surprise, and did not themselves raise concerns about the consequences
of FFI’s legal actions against Indian and Dutch human rights
organisations for the right to freedom of speech and freedom of
association. This has serious consequences for Dutch policy making on
corporate social responsibility”, says Christa de Bruin of the CCC.

For months the organisations have been conferring with various Dutch
Ministries about the legal complaints of criminal defamation, racism and
cyber crime that were filed by FFI against the CCC, ICN and internet
provider Antenna and adsl supplier Xs4ALL. The organisations have always
insisted on a pro-active role of the Dutch government in this matter. On
September 26th, Dutch political party SP raised questions about this
case in the Dutch Parliament. Although requested, no response to these
questions was provided before the state visit.

Statements in the press, especially those of Dutch employers’ and
business organisation VNO-NCW president Wientjes, who spoke about
manipulated photo coverage of FFI, have resulted in an incorrect
understanding of the case. It is particularly detrimental that with his
comments Wientjes appears to support the allegations that the Indian
Minister for Economic Affairs has lodged with the Dutch delegation about
the activities of CCC and ICN.

To be perfectly clear: CCC and ICN have never claimed that there is
child labour at FFI. Violations of other labour rights were indeed
brought up, which were investigated by a team of Indian labour law
experts. In the two years during which this case has been ongoing our
reporting was never proven to be factually incorrect., not by FFI nor by
a court of law.

CCC and ICN call upon the Dutch government to immediately engage in a
serious dialogue with their Indian counterparts, which should revolve
around the right to freedom of speech for Dutch and Indian organisations
and the right to freedom of association. The Dutch government should
also urge the Indian government to refrain from requesting the
international extradition of the board members of the two organisations,
the service provider and adsl supplier and other individuals named in
the FFI lawsuit.

Clean Clothes Campaign
PO Box 11584
1001 GN  Amsterdam
phone: ++ 31 (0)20-4122785
info {AT} cleanclothes.org
www.cleanclothes.org / www.schonekleren.nl
postbank: 3927802 / IBAN: NL 35 PSTB 0003927802

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