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UN domestic worker rights treaty to take effect next year

The International Labor Organization (ILO) [official website] announced Wednesday that the Convention on Domestic Workers (CDW) [text], which states that workers who manage families and households for a living should be guaranteed the same labor rights as all other workers, will go into effect next year [press release] following ratification by the Philippines. The CDW was adopted [JURIST report] by the ILO at its annual conference in Geneva last year. Uruguay was the first country to ratify it in June, followed by the Philippines [JURIST report] last month. The convention required ratification by two countries before it could go into force, so now that the Philippines has ratified it, it will go into effect next year. The CDW guarantees domestic workers rights to collective bargaining, minimum wage, at least one day a week of rest and many other labor rights not currently given to many of them throughout the world.

Rights of domestic workers has been a controversial issue for years. Last year the UN warned Lebanon [JURIST report] specifically that it needed to create more laws to protect rights of domestic workers. In 2010 Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] expressed the same opinion [JURIST report], stating that Lebanon needed to do more to protect domestic workers in its country and prosecute those who violate their rights. HRW also released a statement [JURIST report] in 2008 saying that migrant and domestic workers were facing human rights abuses throughout the Middle East and Asia.

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