Category Archives: labor rights

India, Thailand Ratify Fundamental International Labour Organization Conventions

High level event on “Partnerships to End Forced Labour in Global Chains,” co-organized by the ILO
Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Last week following the World Day against Child Labor, India ratified two International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions that seek to eliminate child labor, and Thailand ratified one ILO Convention that prohibits labor discrimination. [ILO Press Release: India; ILO Press Release: Thailand; UN News Centre] The first convention India ratified, the ILO Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138), requires that States parties set a minimum age for children to work in any occupation and provides particular requirements for hazardous work. The second convention India ratified, the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), requires that States parties take concrete steps to prevent child participation in the most harmful categories of labor, including slavery, forced labor, trafficking, child prostitution, and particularly hazardous work, among others. Thailand ratified the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111) (Employment Discrimination Convention), which requires States parties to develop, promote, and practice national policies that ensure equal opportunity and treatment in employment.

All three conventions are included in the ILO’s eight fundamental conventions, which the ILO believes provide a framework for striving for the remaining rights at work. The ILO aims to achieve universal ratification of the fundamental conventions, and according to the ILO, only 129 ratifications are left to achieve that goal. See ILO, Conventions and Recommendations. Only six States have yet to ratify the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, which has accumulated ratifications at a rate faster than any other ILO Convention. [ILO Press Release: India] India has now ratified four of the eight fundamental conventions, and Thailand has ratified five of eight. See ILO, Ratifications of fundamental Conventions by country. Read more

News Clips- April 21, 2017

The United Nations and African Union sign the joint UN-AU Framework for Enhancing Partnership on Peace and Security
Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Civil Society

  • On Wednesday, anti-government protesters marched in the streets of Caracas, Venezuela amid riot police while the government held counter-demonstrations. [Washington Post]
  • On Tuesday, the Human Rights Commission in Ethiopia reported 669 deaths resulting from anti-government protests in the country. [BBC News]
  • On Saturday, a United States aid worker was released from pretrial detention in Egypt after three years. [Washington Post] 

Violence & Humanitarian Crises

  • On Monday, the government of Turkey announced it would extend Turkey’s state of emergency for an additional three months. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Saturday, a suicide bomb attack in Syria killed 126 people; there are no claims of responsibility for the attack. [Guardian]

Migrants, Refugees, & Asylum Seekers

  • On Thursday, the Libyan coastguard reported at least 97 people missing after a boat transporting African nationals to Europe sunk. [Al Jazeera]
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated 8,300 migrants were rescued at sea from smugglers last weekend; eight migrants died. [Washington Post] 

International Criminal Law

  • On Wednesday, Uganda’s military ended its years-long search for Joseph Kony, a warlord charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, because his Lord’s Resistance Army was largely neutralized. [Washington Post]
  • The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated that the attacks in Syria over the weekend may amount to war crimes and recommended referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). [UN News Centre]


  • This week, the government of Tunisia signed a declaration that gives non-government organizations and individuals the ability to submit complaints directly to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) against Tunisia. [ACHPR Press Release]
  • On Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull announced a plan to get rid of the country’s 457 skilled-worker visa program. [Washington Post]
  • On Wednesday, the United Nations and the African Union signed a joint UN-AU Framework for Enhancing Partnership on Peace and Security. [UN News Centre]

Cuba Welcomes First Visit from UN Special Rapporteur in Nearly 10 Years

Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, addresses the UN Security Council
Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

First the first time in nearly 10 years, a United Nations independent expert visited Cuba on an official country visit when the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, toured the country from April 10 to 14, 2017. The purpose of the Special Rapporteur’s visit was to assess the situation of victims of human trafficking, in particular for sexual and labor exploitation, and to assess measures that protect and provide victims with effective remedies. [OHCHR Press Release] Her visit concluded with a press conference in which she set forth criteria to combat human trafficking, including the establishment of awareness-raising programs regarding the perception of risk, and praised Cuba for its political will to combat human trafficking and its free healthcare, education, and social security systems, which help reduce vulnerabilities that can lead to trafficking. [Reuters; Cuba Debate (in Spanish)] The findings made during this visit will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2018. The last official visit to Cuba by a UN independent expert was conducted between October 28 and November 6, 2007, by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler. See Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, UN Doc. A/HRC/7/5/Add.3, 3 March 2008. Read more

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