SEVENTH ITEM ON THE AGENDA
Consideration of the Director-General's report
on the situation of workers of the occupied Arab
territories at the 86th (1998) Session of the
International Labour Conference
1. At its 270th (November 1997) Session, the Governing Body had before it a draft resolution submitted by the Arab regular members of the Governing Body in accordance with article 15 of the Standing Orders of the Governing Body, the text of which is reproduced as Appendix I.
2. This draft resolution requested the Director-General to include an item in the agenda of the 271st (March 1998) Session of the Governing Body in order to prepare proposals for submission to the International Labour Conference at its 86th Session (1998) with a view to holding a special sitting of the Conference for the consideration of the Director-General's report on the situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories.
3. It was decided that an item would be placed on the agenda of the 262nd (March 1998) Session of the Governing Body for its consideration.
4. The legal framework applicable to such a sitting has been explained in previous documents.1 While article 12 of the Standing Orders of the Conference provides for the report of the Director-General to be discussed in plenary, it was found possible to refer the part of the report on the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories to a special sitting of the Conference provided certain conditions were met. These were --
5. The last special sitting of the Conference for the consideration of the Director-General's report on the situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories was held during the 82nd Session (1995) of the Conference.2 It should be recalled that the Governing Body decided at its 262nd Session (March-April 1995) to submit a proposal to the Conference for the holding of a special sitting at the 82nd (1995) Session of the Conference on the understanding that, in view of the prevailing conditions at the time, this would be the last occasion on which such a special sitting would be held. In these circumstances, it was felt that it may not be possible to achieve the required consensus at future sessions, a procedure considered necessary for the adoption of such a decision by the Governing Body.
6. The question would now therefore appear to be whether, in the light of recent developments, the general feeling in the Governing Body is that a special sitting may again appear to serve its purpose. This would of course be subject to the same conditions as those applied by the Governing Body between 1990 and 1995. The basis on which these special sittings have been held, and the procedure followed, are set out in the document appearing in Appendix II.
7. The Governing Body may wish to determine whether the conditions that formed the basis of the decisions taken between 1990 and 1995 for the holding of a special sitting of the International Labour Conference for the consideration of the Director-General's report on the situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories are again met.
8. In these circumstances, the Governing Body may wish --
Geneva, 17 February 1998.
Point for decision: Paragraph 8.
1 GB.262/6; GB.259/6/3; GB.255/3/3, paras. 4-10; GB.255/PV(Rev.), pp. VII/1-VII/6.
2 Special sittings were held at the 77th (1990), 78th (1991), 79th (1992), 80th (1993), 81st (1994) and 82nd (1995) Sessions. No special sitting was held at the 83rd (1996) or 85th (1997) Sessions of the Conference. The 84th (1996) Session was a Maritime Session of the Conference.
Draft resolution submitted by the Arab regular members
of the Governing Body in accordance with article 15
of the Standing Orders of the Governing Body,
relating to the second report of the Committee on
Legal Issues and International Labour Standards
at the 270th Session (November 1997) of the Governing Body
The Governing Body of the International Labour Office,
Noting with satisfaction the efforts made by the Director-General to give effect to the resolution adopted by the International Labour Conference in 1980 concerning the situation of Arab workers in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, including the implementation of the ILO plan of action (drawn up by the multidisciplinary mission in 1993: "Report on capacity building for social development: A programme of action for transition in the occupied Palestinian territories");
Decides to request the Director-General to include an item on the agenda of the 271st Session (March 1998) of the Governing Body in order to prepare proposals for submission to the International Labour Conference at its 86th Session (June 1998) with a view to the holding of a special sitting of the Conference to examine the annual report of the Director-General on the situation of Arab workers in Palestine and in the other occupied Arab territories, including an examination of the implementation of the above ILO plan of action.
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR CONFERENCE
81st Session, Geneva, 1994
First Sitting, Tuesday, 7 June 1994
Consideration of the Director-General's report on the situation of workers
of the occupied Arab territories
1. At its 259th (March 1994) Session, the Governing Body decided in favour of a proposal for the holding of a special sitting at the 81st Session of the International Labour Conference for the consideration of the Director-General's report on the situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories and the ILO plan of action in this field, under the same conditions as those that applied at the 77th (1990), 78th (1991), 79th (1992) and 80th (1993) Sessions. These were --
2. In taking that decision, the Governing Body recommended that the Director-General submit proposals to the Selection Committee of the Conference based on the arrangements made at earlier sessions of the Conference, to which it did not suggest any changes or additions.
3. Noting that no resolution has been submitted to the Conference on the subject in question, and considering that the conditions now seem to be satisfied for a sufficient consensus to be reached in the Selection Committee, the Director-General therefore submits the following proposals in accordance with the mandate conferred on him by the Governing Body and taking account of the arrangements already applied at the 77th (1990), 78th (1991), 79th (1992) and 80th (1993) Sessions of the Conference.
Principle and timing of a special sitting
4. In previous years the Conference recognized that, while the Director-General's report on the occupied Arab territories is an integral part of the Director-General's report provided for in article 12 of the Standing Orders of the Conference, and has always been treated as such, it was nevertheless possible to see a discussion of the report in the framework of a special sitting, on the understanding that the nature of the sitting would not be modified and could not give rise to anything other than a discussion.
5. On this basis and in accordance with the mandate entrusted to it to fix the time and agenda for the plenary sittings, the Selection Committee is invited to decide to convene a special sitting for the discussion of the appendix to the Director-General's report dealing with the situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories, it being understood that speakers will have to confine their remarks at this sitting to this appendix and that, conversely, that subject will not be discussed in the framework of the discussion on the remainder of the report.
6. In order to take account of the programme of work for the beginning of the Conference and of the fact that a number of ministers who can be present only during the early days of the Conference wish to take the floor during the special sitting, it is proposed that the special sitting should be held in the afternoon of Thursday, 16 June.
Procedure at the special sitting
7. As stated above, the report of the Director-General on the situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories is an integral part of the Report of the Director-General, and its discussion is governed by article 12 of the Standing Orders of the Conference. However, in order to enable speakers wishing to do so to take the floor both during the discussion of the Report of the Director-General as a whole and during the special sitting, it was accepted in previous years that the Conference could -- as an exception and as in the case of other special occasions in the past -- authorize speakers to take the floor during both discussions.
8. The Selection Committee is accordingly invited to recommend that the Conference allow speakers who so wish to take the floor both on the General Report and during the special sitting, it being understood that the subject to be discussed in that sitting would not be discussed in the debate on the remainder of the Report.
9. As regards the actual arrangements for the special sitting, experience at the earlier sessions has shown that a single special sitting -- in the afternoon, extended as appropriate beyond 6 p.m. and continuing until 9 p.m. at the latest -- is sufficient to allow all those wishing to do so to speak on the subject within reasonable time-limits.
10. It will be recalled that, in June 1993, following various appeals by the Officers of the Conference in favour of combining statements, there were some 51 delegates registered to speak, including eight representatives of NGOs (for which the Officers of the Conference, exercising the discretion granted to them by article 14.10 of the Standing Orders of the Conference, had reserved the possibility of taking the floor only in so far as this would not extend the special sitting beyond 9 p.m., the time fixed for its closure). This enabled the Officers of the Conference to fix in advance the time-limit for speeches to seven minutes, an exception being made in the case of the delegates speaking on behalf of a group of countries or of delegates where the maximum was set at ten minutes. The majority of the speakers in fact stayed well within this time-limit. The special sitting closed at 8.45 p.m.
11. In order to retain this time-limit, however, the number of speakers registered should not greatly exceed that reached last year. For this purpose it would probably be desirable to encourage delegates where possible to make joint speeches.
12. It should be recalled in this connection that, according to article 14, paragraph 6, of the Standing Orders of the Conference, the time-limit for speeches is a matter for the Conference to decide on the proposal of its Officers. For this reason it is proposed, in application of that provision, that the President should be invited to submit to the Conference, after consulting the Vice-Presidents, a proposal concerning the duration of speeches in the special sitting, taking due account of the number of speakers registered. For this purpose the Selection Committee may wish to decide that the list of speakers for the special sitting will be closed at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 14 June.
13. As in previous years, within the framework of the principles governing the discussion of his Report in plenary sitting, the Director-General will devote part of his reply to the discussion of his Report to the lessons to be drawn from the special sitting.
14. It is possible that the special sitting will give rise to a request or several requests for a right of reply. The granting of such a request is a matter for the President in accordance with his duties under article 13 of the Standing Orders. It will be for him, in consultation with the other Officers, to determine the timing, length and modalities of any right of reply he may grant, in accordance with the principles set out in his statement opening the discussion of the Reports of the Governing Body and the Director-General, and with the established practice of the Conference.
15. In previous years the view was put forward that no committees should meet during the time devoted to the special sitting so as to enable all delegates to attend.
16. While this concern can be met without undue difficulty as regards certain committees, others, and in particular the technical committees and the Committee on the Application of Standards, already face serious time constraints in completing their business. The technical committees are moreover largely composed of technical advisers attending the Conference exclusively for the purpose of taking part in the committees, and their meeting would be unlikely to reduce significantly the numbers attending the special sitting.
17. It is therefore proposed that the following committees should not meet at the same time as the special sitting: Finance Committee, Resolutions Committee, Committee on Apartheid.
Points for decision: