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Maritime Labor Convention to go into effect in 12 months

The UN International Labor Organization (ILO) [official website; press release] announced Tuesday that the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 [text] has received its final two required ratifications and will go into effect in 12 months. The Convention is a comprehensive range of labor standards [UN News Centre report] and a seafarers' bill of rights covering decent working conditions and health and safety issues for the world's 1.2 million merchant sailors, including basic employment rights, improved enforcement of minimum working and living conditions and the right to make complaints both on board and ashore. It applies to all ships engaged in commercial activities, excepting fishing vessels and traditional ships. The Convention was adopted by the ILO in February 2006, requiring subsequent ratification by 30 ILO member states representing a total share of at least 33 percent of the world's gross tonnage of ships. That requirement was fulfilled by the recent ratifications by Russia and the Philippines. The Convention will be applied globally to all ships, regardless of whether they hail from non-ratifying member states. The ILO is a specialized agency of the UN.

The ILO Domestic Workers Convention (DWC) [text] was ratified by the Philippines earlier this month, giving that convention its second ratification and paving the way for the international treaty to enter full force of law. The ILO created the DWC to set the first global standards for domestic workers worldwide [JURIST report] to ensure they receive the same protections available to other workers such as weekly days off, work hour limits, limits on in-kind payment, minimum wage, clear information on terms and conditions of employment, and other benefits. The ILO adopted the DWC [JURIST report] at last year's annual meeting of ILO member states, the 100th Session of the International Labor Conference [official website]. That same month Megan McKee, University of Pittsburgh School of Law Class of 2012 and a legal researcher for the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, wrote about the need for greater rights for migrant workers [JURIST comment], especially for those employed as domestic workers, and marked DWC's adoption as a "remarkable" passage of a "historic" international treaty.

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