The positive impact of labour standards on peoples’ lives


Eric Gravel, Senior Legal Officer, International Labour Standards Department

Large multilateral organizations like the ILO have occasionally been accused of limiting themselves to mere declarations of principle, without any real practical impact.

Indeed, when I first began working in the ILO’s standards department some 24 years ago, I was asked to review the impact of the Committee on Freedom of Association. Like others, I did wonder about the effectiveness of the mechanisms that were in place to ensure the implementation of ratified Conventions – known as ILO’s ‘supervisory system’. Continue reading

Disability – why your opinion is important


Marlee Matlin

When I was a little girl I had one burning ambition. It was to be an actress. I even wrote an essay, “If I was a movie star,” and it was so convincing it won a prize.

Sooner than I could have imagined I was winning bigger prizes, and for my acting. The Oscar, the Golden Globes. So, you will say, she achieved her ambition – far beyond the dreams of my teenage essay. And that is true…up to a point. Continue reading

My father, the migrant worker


Asmi Musthafa, Programme Assistant (Labour Migration), ILO Colombo

In June 1986, soon after I was born, my father went overseas. I grew up in Maruthamunai, a small coastal village of about 15,000 people in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. I come from a family of seven and have four siblings – three elder sisters and a younger sister.

We were all very young when my father left the country to work in Saudi Arabia as a driver for a household. I can’t begin to imagine how my mother felt, tasked with looking after five kids without the direct support of her husband. Continue reading