Migrant Workers in International Human Rights Law: Their Protection in Countries of Employment

By Ryszard Cholewinski | Go to book overview

3 The Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families by the ILO With Particular Reference to the Migrant Workers Instruments of 1949 and 1975

3.1 INTRODUCTION

This chapter examines the International Labour Organization's contribution to the protection of the economic, social, cultural, political, and residence rights of migrant workers and their families, the first of a series of chapters dealing with international approaches to this question. It is fitting to begin with the International Labour Organization (ILO), which has a long-standing tradition of the protection of people in their working environment. Moreover, ILO Conventions relating to the protection of migrant workers and their families are the only universal set of standards concerned with this group currently in force at the international level.1 Before undertaking an examination of these standards, it is proposed to set the discussion within the framework of ILO standard-setting activities in the field of human rights and the unique ILO supervisory procedures and mechanisms concerned with their protection and promotion.


3.2 THE ILO AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Origins and the Constitution

The ILO was founded in 1919 by the Peace Treaty of Versailles to regulate international labour concerns. International regulation was seen as essential to respond to demands for better working conditions prevalent in many countries since the end of the nineteenth century, and to offset any economic and competitive disadvantages which might accrue to those states that sought to combat these problems alone.2 The ILO was the only significant intergovernmental organization

____________________
1
The UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families is not yet in force. See Ch. 4.
2
V. A. Leary, International Labour Conventions and National Law: The Effectiveness of the Automatic Incorporation of Treaties in National Legal Systems ( The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1982) 6; L. Betten, "'At its 75th Anniversary, the International Labour Organization Prepares itself for an Active Future'" ( 1994) 12 NQHR 425, 429.

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