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Forced labour

Fifty steps forward against forced labour

Sudan’s ratification of the ILO Protocol on Forced Labour and Conventions on freedom of association and social dialogue, was marked in a virtual ceremony with the ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder.

Press release | 26 March 2021

GENEVA (ILO News) – The 50th ratification of the ILO Protocol on Forced Labour was celebrated in a virtual ceremony on 26 March, 2021.

The Sudanese Ambassador, Ali Ibn Abi Talib Abdelrahman Mahmoud, presented the instrument of ratification to ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, marking the achievement of the initial target set by the 50 for Freedom campaign, which urges governments to take action on forced labour.

He also presented the ratification instruments of the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, 1948 (No. 87); and the Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Convention, 1976 (No. 144).

The ratification of Convention No. 87 and the Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) are the first ratifications of ILO fundamental Conventions since Sudan began its transition to democracy in July 2019. They complete Sudan’s ratification of all ILO fundamental standards and brings to 18 the total number of Conventions it has ratified.

“I welcome the deposit of these three key ILO instruments. They underpin an inclusive process of transition that creates full opportunity for all sections of society, including women and youth, to have their voices heard in socio-economic matters,” said Ryder.

He highlighted the importance of freedom of association in facilitating the effective transition to democracy, as outlined by the Sudanese Government.

With these ratifications, Sudan is actively contributing to the achievement of decent work and to the attainment of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals."

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General
“Sudan’s renewed commitment to eliminate forced labour and take specific action to combat trafficking is a fitting tribute to the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which we commemorated just yesterday,” Ryder added. “With these ratifications, Sudan is actively contributing to the achievement of decent work and to the attainment of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Protocol to Convention No. 29 calls on ratifying States to adopt effective measures to prevent and eliminate forced labour, including trafficking in persons, debt bondage and slavery. These measures should provide victims with protection and access to appropriate and effective remedies, such as compensation. They should include sanctions on the perpetrators of forced or compulsory labour.

The Protocol has now been ratified by 51 countries, following Luxembourg’s ratification on 18 March 2021.

The Sudanese ambassador stressed the importance of the moment. “These ratifications confirm our commitment to work on strengthening democracy, peace and stability with the support of the international community,” he said. “Creating opportunities for decent work and addressing the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic present a joint challenge that must be addressed in a tripartite manner by the state, workers and employers, where social dialogue plays a very important role.”

The ILO is assisting Sudan with the development of a legal framework that promotes social dialogue. Meaningful social dialogue is based on guarantees that allow workers and employers to set up independent and representative organizations for the defence of their social and economic rights and interests.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the ILO Director-General thanked the Sovereignty Council and Sudan’s workers and employers for their “commitment to the fundamental principles and rights of working men and women, as set out in ILO fundamental instruments.”

The two Conventions and the Protocol will enter into force in Sudan on 17 March 2022.

This article has been developed in the framework of the "50 for Freedom" campaign (ILO Bridge project)