19 June 2009

Timor-Leste ratifies first ILO Conventions

ILO/TLGOV Tuesday, 16 June 2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRESS RELEASE International Labour Conference 2009 Timor-Leste ratifies first ILO Conventions - JENEVA (ILO News): Timor-Leste has ratified four conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), concerning forced labour (Convention No. 29), freedom of association and protection of the right to organize (Convention No. 87), the right to organize and collective bargaining (Convention No. 98), and the elimination of the worst forms of child labour (Convention No. 182). The Vice-Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, H.E. Mr. José Luis Guterres, attending the 98th International Labour Conference in Jeneva, deposited four instruments of ratification of the Conventions with the ILO, today (16/6) at the ILO Headquarters in Geneva.

“This is a historic time for us. We are proud to reaffirm Timor-Leste's respect of employers and workers' fundamental rights. These ratifications lay a foundation for democratic governance in the Timor-Leste world of work. They also represent our country's pursuit for sustainable development and recognition and protection of human rights,” said Vice-Prime Minister Guterres.

The ratifications of these first four Conventions was presented, discussed and approved by the tripartite partners in December 2007. During the meeting, entitled “The Importance of the Tripartite System to Promote a Modern Labour Relations’ and Labour Inspection System for Timor-Leste”, all the participants endorsed a review process towards the ratification of ILO conventions. Subsequently the Secretariat of State for Vocational Training and Employment established and submitted a five-year ratification plan to the National Parliament. The four ratifications are among the ILO core and priority conventions identified in the plan.

The ratification of ILO conventions is among many important measures Timor-Leste is undertaking to establish a functioning and modern labour administration system. At present, the present National Labour Code which was approved by the UN Transition Administration on 1 May 2002 is in a reform process. The ILO is supporting the draft to assist the inclusion of the fundamental and principles of rights at work in the new Labour Code. It is expected that the draft Labour Code will be submitted for approval by the Council of Minister and Parliament in the second half of 2009.

“The ratification of not only its first ILO Convention but four Core Conventions all together constitutes an important step forward in anchoring the principles of Decent Work in the laws of this young nation. Timor Leste is strengthening the foundation for the growth and development of its people and country by ensuring fundamental rights” said Ms. Sachiko Yamamoto, the Regional Director for the ILO in Asia and the Pacific.

Timor-Leste became an ILO Member State on 19th August 2003 after its independence from Indonesia in 1999.

For further information, contact: Filomeno Romulo dos Santos Lay, Media Officer SEFOPE, +670 74 41 984, no Manuel Mesquita, Media Relations, ILO Dili Office, +670 73 36 675 Email: mesquita@ilo.org Address : Ex – CNRT Building, Balide, Dili, Timor – Leste, Tel. : +670 - 33 31 528, Website : www.sefope.gov.tl

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