ICMC Calls for Access To Decent Work for Refugees and Migrants at the International Labour Conference
In a statement delivered at the 110th session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, ICMC called for more sustainable and equitable work, humanitarian assistance for victims of conflict, and renewed multilateralism.
By Rachel Westerby*
On 8 June 2022, International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) Project Manager Ignacio Alonso Alasino addressed the 110th session of the International Labour Conference on the theme of “The Centrality of Work.”
Alonso Alasino presented ICMC’s work in providing direct humanitarian assistance and other services to uprooted people throughout the world. He particularly emphasized ICMC’s partnerships and collaboration with other faith-based organizations sharing similar values and actions, highlighting “The Future of Work – Labour after Laudato si’” led by ICMC in collaboration with the International Labour Organization, the Vatican, and a wide range of civil society organizations.
Alonso Alasino noted the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on refugees and migrants worldwide, even as the world continues to recover from the pandemic. “Refugees and migrants remain uniquely vulnerable not only to the pandemic’s impacts but also because of the devastating consequences of military conflicts across the globe,” he said in this statement. “We believe that the pandemic still exacerbates inequality […] by favoring the privileged few but leaving most people on the margins and peripheries without access to basic human needs and rights, including decent work.”
He called upon all stakeholders to adopt a human-centered approach in which decent work plays a fundamental role in “the transformation toward a more socially and environmentally sustainable economy.” He also called for a renewal of commitments to multilateralism, acknowledging that “positive cooperation among States, civil society organizations and other stakeholders is currently unsteady but is very much needed to defend the dignity of workers and promote social dialogue.”
Alongside the impacts of COVID-19, Alonso Alasino noted the complex challenges faced by humanitarian agencies assisting refugees in a context of rising global geopolitical tensions and military conflicts. “We need to convene efforts and carry out collaborative responses to the largest situation of refugees and displaced people in Europe since World War II,” he explained, setting out ICMC’s dual role of providing direct assistance for refugees’ basic needs in Ukraine and advocating at the international level for improved humanitarian action and an end to the conflict.
Alonso Alasino concluded his intervention by recalling the words of Pope Francis at the 108th session of the International Labour Conference in 2019. “Good, inclusive, and decent work is part of our human identity, necessary for our human development, and vital for the future of the planet […] We need people and institutions that defend the dignity of workers, the dignity of everyone’s work, and the wellbeing of the earth, our common home!”
The International Labour Conference is the key policymaking forum of the International Labour Organization (ILO). It brings together governments, employers, and workers of its 187 Member States each year in Geneva, Switzerland.
*Rachel Westerby is an independent writer and researcher on migration, refugees and integration.