ILO discusses world of work response to global refugee crisis

This article is brought to you through the meticulous study of International Labour Organization as a source.

The growing number of people displaced by war, persecution and poverty has profound implications for labour markets.

GENEVA (ILO News) – ILO Director-General Guy Ryder has called upon the organization’s members to contribute to effective responses to the global refugee crisis. In opening remarks to a debate of the ILO’s Governing Body, Ryder emphasized that the crisis was a truly global problem calling for the solidarity of all countries and peoples since “The truth of the matter is, we are all affected”.

The debate, involving the executive body of the ILO with representatives from workers, employers and governments, was aimed at determining the appropriate response from the organization to the refugee emergency.

Ryder said there was a need to look beyond the immediate humanitarian imperatives to longer term, development oriented action to ensure that the impact on host communities is addressed.

“This crisis is not new; many countries have been hosting very large numbers of refugees for periods stretching sometimes over decades,” he said.

According to the UN, as at the end of 2014 more than 60 million people had been displaced by crises, conflict and disasters, the vast majority of them are being hosted in developing economies.

Both worker and employer representatives expressed support for the critical role the ILO has to play in the crisis.

Reiterating that the ILO is not a humanitarian or relief organization, employer representative Ronnie Goldberg also stressed that “cross-border movements should be managed in a proactive, transparent and predictable way.” The ILO, she said, can use its unique platform and expertise to focus on effective protection of migrants; a sound labour market needs assessment, and social dialogue for well governed migration and mobility.

Luc Cortebeeck, Workers representative, said the ILO had a “major” role in addressing the labour market implications of the refugee crisis, and in assisting the design of policies in origin and destination countries.

The ILO Director-General pointed to the need to associate help for refugees with policies for the many millions of migrant workers around the world, emphasizing that for migration to be fair it “must happen legally and in an orderly fashion”.

The ILO is already involved in a number of projects to improve employment opportunities for migrants and refugees, including: agricultural infrastructure investment in northern Jordan that offers short term employment for Syrian refugees, a study on employment potential in Sanhurfa, Turkey, and joint programmes with UNHCR on forced migration in Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Egypt and Zambia.

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