ILO launches a new initiative to eradicate forced labour

The ILO Office in Nepal organized the official launch of the “The Bridge Project - From Protocol to Practice: A Bridge to Global Action on Forced Labour” in Lalitpur, Nepal. The project will support the Government of Nepal’s efforts in the fight against forced labour.

Press release | Kathmandu, Nepal | 13 February 2017
Opening ceremony on 13 February 2017, Kathmandu
In his opening remarks, Mr. Richard Howard, ILO Nepal Director, acknowledged the initiatives taken by the Nepal government in providing support to the forced labour victims including Kamaiyas and Haliyas. He said “the government has shown commitment to end forced labour in Nepal through the ratification of seven of the eight ILO Fundamental Conventions”, but he emphasized that more needs to be done in policies and comprehensive approaches to respond to this challenge.

The Chairperson for the launch of the project, Mr. Madhav Prasad Gadtaula, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Land Reform and Management, thanked the ILO for bringing all stakeholders together to discuss the planned objectives of the project in Nepal. He suggested “it is time for us to review, share and learn from the numerous activities on forced labour undertaken by all stakeholders in Nepal” and he expressed hope “the ILO would help facilitate such an exchange in the near future”.

In addition to presenting the key elements of the Bridge project, the workshop also highlighted the main contents of the ILO Forced Labour Protocol, adopted at the International Labour Conference in 2014 by Governments, Employers’ and Workers’ organizations . Some key measures of the protocol include – the need for comprehensive approaches to ensure prevention, protection and remedies for forced labour victims through: raising awareness; educating vulnerable workers and employers; extending laws to cover all workers and sectors; strengthening the labour inspection system to monitor the compliance of laws and policies; protecting workers from abuses arising during recruitment processes; and providing proper care and support to the victims of forced labour.

The Bridge project, funded by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL), intends to support the government of Nepal to review its laws and policies in line with the International Labour Standards on forced labour, to enhance the capacity of government in monitoring labour compliance including situations of forced labour, to undertake research on the prevalence of forced labour as well as to provide direct livelihood support to freed Haliyas in the Kanchanpur and Bajura districts.