ILO reaffirms commitment to protect and promote human rights at work

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ILO Director-General Guy Ryder

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has reaffirmed its commitment to protect and promote human rights at work.

In a message Tuesday marking International Human Rights Day, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder says despite some progress, there is still much work to be done.

 To illustrate this, he explains that 870 million workers and their families live in poverty on the US$2 per person per day, of which 400 million of them are in extreme poverty; some 20.9 million people were in forced labour at any given point in time over the period between 2002 and 2011; and today there are still 168 million children in child labour, half of them in its worst forms.

At the same time, he says, over the years there has been growing awareness of these issues.

Many countries that twenty years ago denied the existence of grave violations such as forced and child labour, are now taking concrete steps for their elimination.

There is also a widespread recognition that decent work, with the rights and principles it embraces, is the sustainable route out of poverty.

According to Mr. Ryder, through the promotion of decent work, which is recognized as a human right itself and provides a rights-based agenda for the world of work, the ILO seeks to advance the realization of social justice.

Today, the opportunity to work in dignity is perhaps the most widespread demand of women and men everywhere.

The creation of decent jobs remains, and will continue to remain, one of the pressing global development priorities.

Donn Bobb, United Nations


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