International Labour Standards

The ILO maintains and develops a system of international labour standards aimed at promoting opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity.

International labour standards are legal instruments drawn up by the ILO’s tripartite constituents (governments, employers and workers) that lay down principles, rights and minimum standards related to work and workplaces. These standards can be either conventions, which are binding international treaties, or recommendations, which are non-binding.

There are 189 conventions in all, including eight regarded as fundamental. These cover core aspects of work-related rights including freedom of association, collective bargaining, child labour, forced labour and discrimination.

The ILO provides technical assistance to help member States ratify and observe conventions, and supervises their application.

In the Arab region, the ILO collaborates with government, worker and employer representatives to promote the application of international labour standards through awareness-raising activities, legal reform and law enforcement.

The 2009 Arab Action Agenda for Employment reaffirms the commitment of ILO member states to the application of international labour standards to promote the decent work agenda.