ILO Governing Body agrees Myanmar Commission of Inquiry

March 25th, 2022  •  Author:   International Labour Organization  •  3 minute read
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Decisions on Venezuela and Bangladesh were also taken at the 344th meeting of the International Labour Organization’s Governing Body.

GENEVA (ILO News) – The Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO) has decided to establish a Commission of Inquiry in respect of the non-observance of International Labour Standards in Myanmar, following the military coup in February 2021.

The Commission of Inquiry will investigate the non-observance of the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87)  and the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) .

The resolution adopted by the Governing Body noted with profound concern “the escalation of large-scale lethal violence against civilians, including children, and the arrest and torture of Aung Ko Latt, a member of the Mahlwagone Railway Union,” and called on the military to end such action immediately.

It also deplored the “continued harassment, intimidation and arbitrary arrests and detentions of labour activists, trade unionists and others, including the Rohingya, in the exercise of their human rights.”

Myanmar should ensure that workers’ and employers’ organizations are able to exercise their rights in a climate of freedom and security, free from violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, the resolution says.

A Commission of Inquiry is the ILO’s highest-level investigative procedure and is generally set up when a Member State is accused of committing persistent and serious violations and has repeatedly refused to address them. To date, 14 Commissions of Inquiry have been established.

Consisting of three independent members, who are yet to be appointed, the Commission of Inquiry will be responsible for carrying out a full investigation of the complaint, ascertaining all the facts of the case and making recommendations on measures to be taken to address the problems raised by the complaint.

Venezuela

The ILO Governing Body also discussed Venezuela’s failure to implement the recommendations of a Commission of Inquiry appointed in March 2018 to consider a complaint alleging the non-observance of ILO Conventions. The complaint outlined, in particular, acts of violence, other aggressions, persecution, harassment and a campaign to discredit the employers’ organization FEDECAMARAS, including its leaders and affiliates, as well as interference by the authorities, lack of tripartite consultation and exclusion from social dialogue.

Among its recommendations the Commission of Inquiry called for “the immediate cessation of all acts of violence, threats, persecution, stigmatization, intimidation or any other form of aggression” against employers’ and workers’ organizations that do not support the government. The Governing Body, expressing the utmost concern, reiterated its call on the Government to accept the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry. While taking note of a social dialogue forum that has been set up in the country, the resolution requested the ILO Director-General to continue engaging with the Government on the full implementation of the Commission of Inquiry recommendations.

Bangladesh

The ILO Governing Body has also taken note of a report  by the Government of Bangladesh on the timely implementation of a road map intended to address outstanding issues mentioned in a complaint concerning the non-observance of Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (No. 81), the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87), and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98).

It deferred a decision on further action, asking the Government to report on further progress at the November 2022 session of the Governing Body.


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