In a statement delivered to the 111th session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, ICMC’s president called for the rights and dignities of the world’s most vulnerable workers to be prioritized within global responses.
On 8 June 2023, International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) President Ms. Christine Nathan addressed the 111th session of the International Labour Conference on the theme of “Common and shared values rooted in social justice”.
Ms. Nathan began by acknowledging the “crucial moment in economic and social history” at which the 2023 ILC takes place. Drawing on ICMC’s experience of assisting populations affected by the conflict in Ukraine, which has focused on responding to mental and health and psychological needs, she emphasized the profound impact of war and conflict on the world’s workers. She also noted the ongoing impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, current and recent economic crises, and persistent inequality and injustice as profound challenges affecting the global world of work.
“The heaviest burdens are shouldered by those who are most vulnerable, including forced migrant, refugee, and informal workers,” Ms. Nathan stated. “At the same time, we wish to point out the strengths and resilience of these same populations as well as their much-needed contributions to the societies in which they are welcomed, protected, promoted, and integrated.”
Ms. Nathan described how ICMC has for the past six years worked to promote social justice, decent and dignified work, with fair wages, in particular highlighting the global “Future of Work, Labour after Laudato Si’” project. Established in support of the ILO Centenary celebration, the project is coordinated by ICMC in partnership with the International Labour Organization and the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and an extensive global network of Catholic-inspired organizations, other faith actors, and grass-rooted organizations around the world.
Noting how the current “consumerist economic model and the aim to attain maximized profits are pursued at direct expense to workers”, Ms. Nathan called for sustainable development driven by common values rooted in social justice. She signaled ICMC’s strong support for and willingness to engage in the new Global Coalition for Social Justice, launched by the International Labour Organization (ILO) at the 2023 ILC. The initiative brings together ILO tripartite constituents and a wide range of stakeholders to coordinate global efforts to reduce inequality, and to ensure the prioritization of social justice within national and global policymaking, development cooperation, and financial, trade and investment agreements.
Ms. Nathan concluded her address with a plea to delegates to recall that “migration is a universal phenomenon that has existed since time immemorial and is inseparable from the labor issue. Thus, both should be approached from perspective and actions rooted in social justice.”
- Read Ms. Nathan’s full statement