Child Labor Week
April 20-23, 1999
Major events include an address on April 23 by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who was a pioneer in linking U.S. foreign policy to human rights issues and is currently the sponsor of legislation that would curb child labor; a debate on April 21 between economist Jagdish Bhagwati, who has been described as “the world’s most militant defender of free trade,” and Pharis Harvey, director of the International Labor Rights Fund, a nonprofit action and advocacy organization that works to end inhumane labor practices; and, on April 20 and 21, showings of the film
“Globalization and Human Rights” with discussions including the filmmaker Robin Romano.
Oak Convocation with Senator Harkin
April 23, 1999
Senator Harkin addressed the inaugural Oak Convocation and received an honorary Colby degree. Besides his work on behalf of human rights and against child labor, Harkin sponsored a letter from Congress in 1995 to protest the Pakistani government’s arrest and detention of Zafaryab Ahmed on sedition charges. In December of 1998, he personally intervened with Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, to help end Ahmed’s detention in Pakistan so Ahmed could accept the first fellowship of the Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights at Colby. Harkin has been asked to talk about Congress’s contribution to U.S. human rights policies.
Debate on Free Trade and Child Labor
April 21, 1999
Jagdish Bhagwati and Pharis Harvey debated the topic “Free Trade and Child Labor: What the United States Should and Should Not Do.” They focused on whether the U.S. should adopt child labor and other human rights conditions as part of its trade policy.Bhagwati is the Arthur Lehman Professor of Economics at Columbia University and served as economic policy advisor to the director general of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade). He is the author of books including The Economics of Underdeveloped Countries and Protectionism, as well as his most recent, A Stream of Windows: Unsettling Reflections on Trade, Immigration, and Democracy. He won Rhodes College’s Frank J. Seidman Distinguished Award in Political Economy in 1998. Bhagwati is one of the most distinguished international economists in the world today as well as one of the world’s most outspoken defenders of free trade.
Pharis J. Harvey is a founder of the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF) and its executive director since 1990. He is the author of Trading Away the Future: Child Labor in India’s Export Industries and editor of several studies of labor and peoples’ movements in Asia. In 1996 Harvey received the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award for lifetime achievement in developing labor rights law and defending labor rights internationally. The ILRF maintains that internationally recognized rights are violated in every part of the globe when women work in sweatshop garment factories, children work in poor conditions making products that are shipped to developed countries and men are forced to labor without pay. Women and men are harassed, fired or even killed for their efforts to organize and speak out, maintains Harvey, who works to end such injustices.
Globalization and Human Rights
April 20 and 21, 1999
Filmmaker Robin Romano presented screenings of his documentary film, “Globalization and Human Rights,” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20, and at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21, in Lovejoy 100. On Tuesday Zafaryab Ahmed spoke and on Wednesday Pharis Harvey spoke following the film.