More than Jobs for Refugees

News | 16 April 2020
As the 2019 revised Refugee Proclamation (1110/2019) slowly comes into place and economic opportunities open up for refugees, it becomes imperative to ensure jobs created have a decent nature to them. In view of this, the ILO in collaboration with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) in Ethiopia convened a workshop to promote the uptake of the Decent Work Agenda by labour market actors, including employers and other stakeholders as a means to enhance the broader working conditions/ environment for refugee and host workers in the Fafan Zone of Somali Regional State on 25-26 February 2020.

In the circumstances of poverty, an unemployed person may take up a job, decent or not, to feed oneself or ones family. In that moment, maybe an income is all that matters, but why does a decent job remain essential? Since its birth 100 years ago, the ILO has stood up for social justice… to improve the welfare of man. A combination of employment opportunities, rights, social protection and crucially, social dialogue, has proved time and again indispensable to achieving inclusive growth and social peace. Therefore, Decent work is much more than a job. It is the root of social cohesion and the catalyst for poverty reduction in all societies. As a result, the ILO promotes the uptake of Decent Work by all, including policy and decision makers, and to ensure its application from under the roof of the worker, to programme development, at policy level and to achieving the Eigth goal (Decent Work and Economic Growth) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Several government sector representatives responsible for labour and social affairs, refugee affairs, roads (public works), job creation, ILO social partners - the employers and workers, as well as staff of DRC and Mercy Corps benefited from the workshop. The event served as a rough guide to ensuring Decent Work in the programmes of stakeholders. More specifically, it highlighted the importance and applicability of the four Fundamental Principles and Rights at work in the elimination of child labour and worst forms of child labour; elimination of forced labour, including human trafficking and modern slavery; ensuring non-discrimination in the world of work and ensuring the fundamentals rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Additionally, the workshop focused on translating the global Decent Work Agenda to the national level; making Social Protection central in the fight against poverty, inequality and social exclusion, as well as gearing stakeholders towards the business productivity advantage of maintaining Occupational Health and Safety; and last but not least the role and efficiency of labour inspectorates in ensuring better conditions of workers contributing to labour productivity.

The ILO and DRC are among actors working within the humanitarian-development nexus  supporting Ethiopia’s Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the implementation of the revised Refugee Proclamation. ILO, as part of the Netherlands funded multi-agency PROSPECTS Partnership, wishes to improve prospects for host communities and refugees in the area of education, employment and protection, including in Jigjiga and Kebribeyah areas of the Somali Regional State.

Similarly, the office of the DRC in Ethiopia, under its MC/EUTF funded action, “Strengthened Socio-Economic Development and Better Employment Opportunities for Refugees and Host Communities in the Jigjiga area, wishes to help in creating conducive work environment and unlock the employment creation potential in the labour market, overcoming competitiveness challenges, and ensuring jobs provide the remuneration, security and safety that actually improve well-being for workers.

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