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La situation des travailleurs des territoires arabes occupés - Rapport de l'OIT Français
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Source: International Labour Office (ILO)
30 April 2008

International Labour Conference, 97th Session, 2008

Report of the Director-General


The situation of workers of
the occupied Arab territories


Juan Somavia Director-General

April 2008

1. Introduction

1. In accordance with the resolution concerning the implications of Israeli settlements in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories in connection with the situation of Arab workers, adopted by the International Labour Conference (ILC) at its 66th Session (1980), the Director-General again this year sent a mission to Israel and the occupied Arab territories in order to make as full an assessment as possible of the situation of workers of the territories (the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the occupied Syrian Golan). 1 Another mission was sent to the Syrian Arab Republic and Egypt to deepen the regional perspectives on the situation.

2. The Director-General’s representatives were guided by the principles and objectives laid down in the Constitution of the International Labour Organization, including the Declaration of Philadelphia, by the standards and resolutions adopted by the ILC, and by the principles enunciated by the supervisory bodies of the ILO. As indicated in the 1980 resolution, the substantive matters at issue include equality of opportunity and treatment of workers of the occupied Arab territories, the trade union freedoms and rights of those workers, and the psychological, spiritual and material damage caused to Arab workers in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories by the Israeli settlement policy. This approach gives all due weight to principles and rights at work, which, together with employment, social protection and social dialogue, form the pillars of the Decent Work Agenda. The present Report thus takes account of relevant legislation and the information obtained concerning the realities on the ground in respect of the situation of the workers of the occupied Arab territories.

3. In examining all the issues involved, both during the mission and in the preparation of this Report, the Director-General’s representatives bore in mind, as they have always done, the relevant standards of international law, in particular, the Hague Convention of 1907 (respecting the laws and customs of war on land) and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 (relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war), of which Israel is a co-signatory. They were also mindful of the conclusion reached by the International Court of Justice in an Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004, namely, that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, all ratified by Israel, are applicable to acts done by the State in exercise of its jurisdiction outside its own territory (ICJ, 2004). 2

4. As in previous years, the missions were also guided by the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

5. The Director-General entrusted Friedrich Buttler, as his Special Representative, Philippe Egger, Deputy Director of the Office of the Director-General, Tariq Haq, Employment Specialist at the Regional Office for the Arab States in Beirut, and Martin

6. In the course of the mission, the Director-General’s representatives held numerous discussions and meetings with Israeli, Palestinian and Syrian interlocutors. 4 They met with representatives of various ministries of the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel, workers’ and employers’ organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and research institutions, women’s organizations and community leaders. The mission also consulted representatives of the donor community, the United Nations and other international organizations.

7. Friedrich Buttler, Nada Al Nashif, Regional Director for the Arab States, and Philippe Egger were entrusted with the mission to the Syrian Arab Republic on 6 April 2008 for consultations with the Syrian Government and with workers’ and employers’ organizations, and to Egypt on 7 April 2008 to meet with representatives of the League of Arab States and the Arab Labour Organization.

8. The Director-General is most grateful to all the parties involved, and wishes to acknowledge that his representatives enjoyed, as they have always done, the full cooperation of all parties, both Arab and Israeli, as well as of the representatives of organizations of the United Nations system in obtaining the factual information on which this Report is based. He also acknowledges the full cooperation extended to his representatives by the authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic, the League of Arab States and the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions (ICATU), which submitted reports.

9. This Report takes account of information obtained on the spot by the missions mentioned above, as well as the documentation submitted by the missions’ interlocutors and other documentation that is publicly available. In examining the situation of Arab workers of the occupied territories, the mission conducted its work with impartiality and objectivity.

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