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MP Murugara decries GBV, modern-day slavery in supply chains

 Gaps exist at every level of the Justice chain starting with stigma and discrimination. [iStockphoto]

Tharaka MP George Murugara has urged employers to respect workers as a means to eradicate gender-based violence and modern-day slavery within supply chains.

Speaking at a workshop hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the Kenyan Parliament, focusing on bolstering parliamentary initiatives to combat gender-based violence and modern slavery within supply chains, Murugara acknowledged Kenya's struggle with the issues.

He noted that global supply chains are intricate, diverse, fragmented, dynamic, and evolving organizational structures that have become integral in global investment and production. 

This came as National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula urged Parliaments across Commonwealth nations to not just create laws against gender-based violence but also eradicate modern slavery.

“Violence against women and girls (VAWG) and modern slavery are not issues that respect geographical boundaries or political affiliations; they are universal challenges that demand our unwavering attention as parliamentarians,” the Speaker said 

He lamented that while supply chains drive economies and promise prosperity, they've also become sources of exploitation and suffering, especially for women and girls.

“As parliamentarians, we must wholeheartedly commit ourselves to crafting legislation that not only holds the perpetrators of these horrifying acts accountable but also ensures that our businesses and industries operate under the highest standards of ethics, with unwavering respect for human rights,” Wetang'ula said. 

Murugara acknowledged that while supply chains have generated employment opportunities in many countries, particularly in developing ones, they have also perpetuated modern-day slavery and gender-based violence.

“These are issues that are live in our respective countries and it is crucial today, if we discuss them in this workshop and find various solutions on how to go about tackling them,” he told delegates.

To counter these challenges, the MP emphasized the crucial role of employers in respecting workers' fundamental rights, such as freedom of association and collective bargaining agreement, which are vital for fostering social dialogue. 

The Tharaka MP underscored the need for lasting, consensus-driven solutions to combat forced labor, ensure effective representation in the informal economy, and enforce fair and ethical recruitment practices through national legislation.

He said absence of specific laws was a contributing factor to these violations and emphasized that legislative measures are key in safeguarding workers. 

“This is important because the reason why most of these actions do happen in violation of the law may be actually the nonexistence of that particular law, which is important to protecting the workers,” he said.

Moreover, Murugara linked compounded crises like the Covid-19 pandemic, armed conflicts, and climate change to disruptions in employment and education, extreme poverty, unsafe migration, and a surge in gender-based violence, all exacerbating modern slavery.

The MP who is the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs Chairperson, highlighted the global nature of modern slavery and gender-based violence. 

He underscored the workshop's significance in addressing these critical issues and emphasized the need to strategize on how to tackle these prevalent problems collectively.

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