The ILO’s supervisory system
States are required to report regularly to the ILO on the implementation of ratified Conventions, indicating not only whether national laws are in conformity with the Convention in question, but also informing the ILO regarding what has been done to make sure the Convention has had an impact on a practical level.
The ILO is a tripartite organization. This means that its constituents - and decision-makers - are not only governments, but also workers and employers. These all have an active role to play in the supervision of ratified conventions.
The regular monitoring of ILO Conventions
States are required to report on measures taken to ensure the implementation of ratified ILO Conventions on any problems encountered in their implementation, at intervals of one to five years, depending on which Convention is concerned.
Reporting on ILO Conventions is regulated by Article 22 of the ILO Constitution. The ILO body examining the application of ratified Conventions is the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR). The CEACR engages in a process of ongoing dialogue with governments on the application of ratified Conventions, and this regular supervision can be very effective in identifying implementation and information gaps and suggesting measures and mechanisms for improved implementation. Workers’ and employers’ organizations can submit information concerning the application of ratified Conventions to CEACR as well.
Information concerning the CEACR’s examination of States’ reports comes in two forms: Observations, which are the CEACR’s public comments on the application of ILO Conventions; and Direct requests. These are sent directly to the government in question, and generally ask for more information on specific subjects.
There are also procedures to deal with more serious situations, and alleged violations of these Conventions. The most commonly used complaints procedure in the ILO system is: Representations. These are governed by article 24 of the ILO Constitution. A Representation alleging a Government’s failure to observe certain provisions of ratified ILO Conventions can be submitted to the ILO by a workers’ or employers’ organization
Indigenous peoples participation in the supervision of ILO Conventions
There are several ways in which indigenous peoples can ensure that their concerns are taken into account in the regular supervision of ILO Conventions by the CEACR:
- By sending information directly to the ILO on a new policy, law, or court decision. The texts of laws and court decisions are considered verifiable, objective information.
- Usually, workers’ organizations –as ILO constituents- have a more direct interest in indigenous issues. Indigenous peoples can strengthen their alliances with workers’ organizations (trade unions) and ensure the issues of their concern are raised.
- Technical cooperation is another way that the ILO can assist governments and indigenous peoples in making progress towards the implementation of ratified Conventions.
Through innovative approaches between indigenous peoples and governments or other ILO constituents.
The ILO can also take into account official information from other UN supervisory bodies, fora or agencies. Such information may originate from indigenous peoples’ organizations.
ILO Conventions and Recommendations, ratification information, comments of the Committee of Experts, representations, complaints, interpretations, General Surveys, and numerous related documents can be found in ILO’s trilingual database called ILOLEX
Information on the application of international labour standards can be found in ILO’s database called Applis