International Labour Organization

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The International Labour Organization (hereinafter referred to as “ILO”) was established during the Peace Conference held in 1919 after World War I. In April 1919, the Peace Conference adopted the “ILO’s Constitution”.

In Mid-World War II, representatives of governments, employer organizations and employee organizations from 41 countries attended the International Labour Conference in Philadelphia and approved the “Declaration of Philadelphia”.

This Declaration was added as an annex to the “ILO’s Constitution”. Up to the present, the Declaration is still an important instrument that reflects the aims and objectives of the ILO. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the ILO on its 50th anniversary in 1969.

One of the most important tasks of the ILO is the enactment of international labour legislation, that is, to draw up international labour standards which can be divided into the following categories according to the contents:

(1)Fundamental labour rights, including freedom of association, which mainly refers to the freedom to create trade unions,
     elimination of forced labour, collective bargaining, equal treatment and opportunities at work, abolition of child labour;
(2)Employment, social policy, labour administration, labour relations, working conditions encompassing wages, working
     hours, occupational safety and health, and social security, which includes compensation for occupational injuries, pension
     and unemployment insurance;
(3)Specific groups of people and occupations, including women, child labour and minor workers, old age workers, persons
     with disabilities, migrant workers, seafarers, fishermen, dockers, etc

Main institutions of the ILO are:
(1)The International Labour Conference (ILC): The supreme authority is vested in the conference held every June in Geneva.
(2)The Governing Body: The executive committee of the ILO, which is elected by the ILC every three years. During
     adjournment, the Governing Body will take charge of the work of the ILO. Meetings are held in March, June and November
     every year.
(3)The International Labour Office: The standing secretariat, which is located at the Headquarter of the ILO in Geneva,
     Switzerland. Though the participation in the ILO is limited to states, when it comes to organization, the unique “tripartite”
     principle shall apply, which means the delegation of member states participating in the ILO’s meetings and activities has to
     be made up of representatives from the Government, employerorganizations and employee organizations. The three parties
     shall have equal and independent say and voting rights.

Each year, the Macao Special Administrative Region will delegate two government representatives and one representative from employee and employer organizations respectively to join the China’s delegation to attend the International Labour Conference. The International Labour Conference is not only an institution responsible for the drawing up and adoption of international labour standards, but also a platform for discussions on global labour and social issues, giving it an outstanding international status.


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