20 May 2022
His Excellency António Guterres,
The Secretary General,
United Nations (UN),
New York, United States
Subject: Open call to the United Nations on the occasion of International Tea Day, 21 May 2022
In reference to the International Tea Day (21 May) 2022, we, on behalf of small farmers, workers, tea farmers’ cooperatives, workers’ unions and grassroots organisations in South Asia, would like to submit this respectful yet urgent call to the United Nations, to engage without delay in ensuring fair trade and fair distribution of returns obtained from tea manufacturing and tea trade to plantation workers and tea growing peasants.
Millions of workers in South Asia are engaged in tea production and processing. Tea growing also provides employment and income to millions of smallholder growers, who supplement or even replace the production done by large tea estates in many countries. We consider that an active engagement of the United Nations with its member state governments, private sector groups and civil society organisations is a key to guarantee living wage and social protection benefits to workers, ensure decent working conditions, end gender injustice, and provide fair price for produces from tea growing peasants. Amidst the reality that plantation workers in tea sector have been exploited and discriminated since history through low wage and absence of any social protection, a timely effort by the United Nations in influencing the state, private and non-state actors would promote and foster collective actions to implement activities in favour of sustainable consumption and production of tea, thus, respecting the rights of workers and peasants. Against this backdrop and in line with the theme of the International Tea Day this year “Tea and Fair Trade”, we would like to submit the enclosed ‘open call’ to the United Nations for its effective engagement with its member states, private actors, national and international civil society organisation in ensuring the rights of men and women workers and peasants.
Netra Prasad Timsina,
South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication
Gairidhara, Kathmandu, Nepal