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ITUC & ILO Fight Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia

ITUC and ILO develop a strategy to fight racial discrimination and xenophobia

The ITUC and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) are jointly holding a seminar in Geneva from 4 to 7 December aimed at developing a trade union strategy to fight racial discrimination and xenophobia.

Although a large majority of governments have ratified ILO Conventions 100 and 111, millions of working men and women suffer discrimination based on colour, cultural differences, ethnic or national origin. They are prey to racism, xenophobia, intolerance, ethnic and religious tensions, both in the world of work and in society in general.

The fight to combat racism and xenophobia and to promote human rights, equality and diversity forms an integral part of every trade union organisation's mission. During its Founding Congress in November 2006, the ITUC decided to take action. The action programme against racism and xenophobia, to be developed during the joint seminar with the ILO, will be equipped with an international monitoring, implementation and assessment mechanism.

Legal instruments alone, although essential in the fight against discrimination, are not enough. The time has come take measures to prevent prejudice and intercommunity tensions, which risk giving way to discriminatory and/or racist acts, attitudes and statements. These measures will have to be accompanied by educational campaigns and efforts to promote intercultural relations.

In addition to drawing up an action plan to fight discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, the seminar will also propose capacity building tools to empower these discriminated groups. Finally, another challenge to be met is awareness raising on a massive scale, both in the workplace and within trade unions.

"Migrants in particular are often exposed to racism," comments Mamounata Cissé, ITUC Deputy General Secretary. "The greatest failure of the global economy, as we know it, is its inability to create sufficient jobs there where people live."

Founded on 1 November 2006, the ITUC represents 168 million workers in 153 countries and territories and has 305 national affiliates.


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