The International Labour Organization and international human rights system

Authored by: Lee Swepston

Routledge Handbook of International Human Rights Law

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  August  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415620734
eBook ISBN: 9780203481417
Adobe ISBN: 9781135055943


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Scholars and activists often neglect a vital aspect of human rights: the role of labour law and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Yet labour law is often the most immediate and practical way to promote and to enforce human rights, entering directly into contact with the concerns that most people encounter on a daily basis. The right to freedom from discrimination is fundamental. But people can be most affected in practical terms when they are unable to get a job and to support their family because of the colour of their skin, their sex or their religion. Not being able to join a political association makes nonsense of the right to freedom of speech and association. But not being able to join or form the trade union of choice means that workers are unable to bargain for improved working conditions, safety and health and a living wage.

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