Protection of Syrian Labour Rights in Turkey – A Business-Led Call for Supply Chain Action


The Foreign Trade Association (FTA), in collaboration with Otto Group, El Corte Inglés, ESPRIT and other BSCI participant companies, is organising the multi-stakeholder forum 'Protection of Syrian Labour Rights in Turkey – A Business-Led Call for Supply Chain Action' which will take place on 6 March 2017 in Hamburg, Germany.

The forum will address the current challenges of integrating Syrian nationals into the Turkish workplace. Syrians are technically not considered as refugees in Turkey – but as 'Foreign Workers under Temporary Protection'. As a result, many Syrian nationals remain barred from refugee status classification and cannot access lawful employment, education, and health care.  

Following the new legal framework by the Turkish government, Syrian nationals under temporary protection status face ongoing obstacles when applying for a work permit. This has led to precarious employment and migrant (refugee) workers working without legal documentation. In addition, overall apparel exports from Turkey are declining since many buyers are banned from traveling to the country due to reported unrest.

This multi-stakeholder forum brings together FTA members, including its BSCI participants sourcing from Turkey, UN agencies, national and international NGOs, academic bodies, think tanks and media, among others. During this forum, we will:

  1. Explore ways to increase coordination and engagement among stakeholders and between initiatives on the ground
  2. Identify strategic measures by which business can leverage their strengths to support ongoing initiatives aimed at protecting the rights of Syrian refugees in the labour market in Turkey
  3. Agree on a plan of action to actively address supply chain challenges in Turkey


   Full Agenda          Event Profile        Related Activities

The aim is to develop long-term solutions which enable Syrian nationals to be both protected and integrated to the local labour market in a manner that safeguards their human rights and dignity. 

The programme will feature experts in the field, including:


Maren Barthel
Corporate Responsibility Manager - Buying Markets
Otto Group

Lary Brown
Vice President - Head of Global Social and Environmental Sustainability

Christian Ewert
Director General
Foreign Trade Association

Dr. Emre Eren Korkmaz
Postdoctoral Researcher 
International Migration Institute (IMI), University of Oxford


Alpay Celikel
Regional Manager of EMEA and South Asia
Fair Labour Association (FLA)


Pindie Stephen
Senior Migrant Training Specialist and Integration Focal Point
International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Dr. Pierre Michael Groning
Director of
International Trade Policy Foreign Trade Association




We look forward to welcoming you in March!

For further information please contact the FTA secretariat at