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UNITED
NATIONS
E

        Economic and Social Council
Distr.
GENERAL
E/CN.4/Sub.2/1999/24
22 September 1999

Original: ENGLISH

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Sub-Commission on Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection
of Minorities
Fifty-first session
Items 3, 5, 7, 9 and 12 of the provisional agenda


COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION OF THEMATIC ISSUES RELATING
TO THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION


THE IMPLEMENTATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS WITH REGARD TO WOMEN


HUMAN RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES


THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS

REVIEW OF FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN FIELDS WITH WHICH THE
SUB_COMMISSION HAS BEEN OR MAY BE CONCERNED

Memorandum submitted by the International Labour Office


GE.99_14063 (E)

CONTENTS


ParagraphsPage
I.GENERAL INFORMATION1 - 243
A.The ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and its follow-up1 - 33
B.Adoption of the ILO Convention on the worst forms of child labour and its accompanying Recommendation4 - 63
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
H.
I.
Ratification of ILO conventions
Application of conventions
Adoption of new standards
General activities for the prevention of discrimination
Action against discrimination based on HIV/AIDS
Situation of Arab workers of the occupied Arab territories
Collaboration with other international organizations
7
8
9
10
13 - 14
15 - 19
20 - 24
4
6
7
7
8
9
11
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
NOTE ON ITEM 3 (a) OF THE PROVISIONAL AGENDA
NOTE ON ITEM 5 OF THE PROVISIONAL AGENDA
NOTE ON ITEM 7 OF THE PROVISIONAL AGENDA
NOTE ON ITEM 9 (e) OF THE PROVISIONAL AGENDA
NOTE ON ITEM 12 OF THE PROVISIONAL AGENDA
NOTE ON ITEM 12 (c) OF THE PROVISIONAL AGENDA
25 - 41
42 - 51
52 - 73
74
75 - 82
83 - 88
12
17
29
24
25
27



[...]

H. Situation of Arab workers of the occupied Arab territories

15. At the 87th Session of the International Labour Conference, the constituents of ILO discussed, in a special sitting, the Director General's most recent report on the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories. Since 1978, through missions sent to Israel and the occupied territories including the Golan, ILO has been fulfilling its mandate to monitor the situation of Palestinian workers and has documented how their interests and those of Palestinian employers can be improved by the provision of adequate and appropriate technical assistance. This year, a mission representing the Director General visited Israel and the occupied Arab territories from 24 April to 1 May 1999. Another mission visited the Syrian Arab Republic from 13 to 16 March 1999. The report is based on information collected during these missions and from a variety of sources, including the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, employers' and workers' organizations and various United Nations agencies.

16. The report concerns first and foremost the real conditions of work and employment of the workers in the occupied Arab territories in such areas as equality of opportunity and treatment in employment, access to the labour market, working conditions, social security and industrial relations. This year, the report once again highlighted the negative impact on the employment situation of Palestinian workers of the closures, whether partial or total, between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Despite indicators of improvement, the employment situation of workers in the occupied territories remains of grave concern. The mission was informed that the lack of clarity of the legislation applicable in the settlements and the non-payment of wages were still major problems for Palestinians working in Israel. The average daily wage for those who worked in the West Bank was US$ 13.36 and in Gaza it was US$ 10.79. Average monthly take-home pay, calculated by multiplying the average daily wage rate by the average number of days worked per month, increased for those who were able to work in Israel from NIS 1,643 to NIS 1,763, i.e. by 7.3 per cent. (In terms of United States dollars, there was a decline of 4.1 per cent as a result of the depreciation of the Israeli currency in the second half of 1998.) Finally, the average monthly wage of all workers of the occupied territories, irrespective of their place of work, was estimated at US$ 355, unchanged in real dollar terms from the previous year. The latest labour force survey shows an average labour force participation rate of 41 per cent in the territories as a whole, with major differences along gender lines. The average labour force participation in the West Bank, in 1998, was 72.1 per cent for men and 14.2 for women. In the Gaza Strip, the corresponding rates were reported to be 64.9 per cent for men and 5.8 per cent for women.

17. The report noted that the policy changes, announced in 1997 by the Israeli Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) of the Ministry of Defence and by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, continued to be implemented. Changes involved, inter alia, the cancellation of quotas for Palestinian workers; approval of a plan to permit their employment in Israel even during sensitive security situations; issuance of work permits for overnight stays of Palestinian workers in Israel; lowering the age of workers entitled to work in Israel to 23 (perhaps even lower in the future depending on the security situation); allowing for more flexible working hours and stay in Israel so that Palestinians could work until evening or in shifts; job fairs; and an initiative placed before the Palestinian Authority in favour of expanding Palestinian job opportunities in the construction sector. However, the current report continues to highlight the difficult situation in terms of conditions of Palestinians employed by Israelis or working in Israel, including non-payment or discriminatory underpayment of wages and benefits, and inequalities in the social security system.

18. ILO continued its technical cooperation in a number of areas: A social security code is currently being prepared with ILO assistance through the Palestinian Ministry of Labour. The code should give the necessary framework to develop an appropriate social security scheme. In addition, ILO assisted the Palestinian authorities in drafting a labour code which has had its first reading in the Palestinian Legislative Council. The adoption of the labour code would, it is hoped, put an end to the current uncertainty as regards the applicable legislation. ILO assistance has also been requested by the Palestinian Ministry of Labour to strengthen the labour administration and industrial relations system.

19. In the biennium 1998-1999, the ILO's regional programme for the Arab States attached great importance and priority to assisting the countries and territories directly concerned with the peace process in the subregion, in particular Gaza and the West Bank. The ILO contribution in this area continued to be focused on capacity-building activities for officials responsible for labour and social policies and for the representatives of the employers' and workers' organizations. The programme also provided for the development of employment policies, human resources development, and promotion of employment through small enterprise development, including a regional seminar on the promotion of micro and small enterprises for women. Within the framework of the ILO International Programme on More and Better Jobs for Women, an action plan for the West Bank and Gaza has been formulated and a proposal to implement the plan is being considered. ILO continued to implement a sizeable technical assistance programme in the West Bank and Gaza and the Palestinian territories involving over US$ 10 million. The Palestinian Employment Programme (PEP), whose objectives and aims are to expand the employment opportunities of the Palestinian labour force, is currently one of the main ILO activities in the occupied territories. With regard to ongoing technical cooperation activities being undertaken by the ILO International Training Centre, Turin, several activities worth about US$ 2 million were implemented with the Palestinian Authority. They included the development of technical colleges of the Ministry of Higher Education, training activities, the promotion of women's rights and the strengthening of trade unions. ILO will continue its technical cooperation programmes in the occupied Arab territories, with the aim of improving the situation of the workers, by focusing its assistance on employment and sustainable livelihood, building the capacity of its constituents and enhancing social dialogue and tripartism.

[...]

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