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General News of Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Ghana urged to ratify ILO conventions to curb forced labour in marine fisheries sector

Emmanuel Kwame Mensah is National Project Officer of the International Labour Office (ILO) Emmanuel Kwame Mensah is National Project Officer of the International Labour Office (ILO)

Ghana’s parliament has been urged to fast-track processes towards the ratification of some ILO Conventions currently before it, to enhance decent working conditions among fishers and other stakeholders in the marine fisheries sector.

Ghana has been a member of the ILO since 1957 and has ratified eight Fundamental Conventions, with two others; C155 (Occupational Safety and Health Convention) and C. 187 (Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention), yet to be ratified.

Aside these Fundamental Conventions, the ILO has developed technical Conventions for specific areas including construction, plantations and marine fisheries, among others.

Under marine fisheries, the ILO has established a Convention to ensure that fishers have decent conditions of work on board fishing vessels, considering the hazardous nature of the occupation.

The convention - C. 188 which looks at Work in fishing, if ratified, will ensure fishers have the minimum requirements including accommodation and food; health protection, occupational safety, social security and medical care among others while on board a vessel.

While the Ghana Maritime Authority has confirmed that the Convention – C.188 has been assented and laid before Parliament for consideration, processes to facilitate speedy ratification are yet to be done.

Touching on the need for the Convention which is currently before Parliament to be ratified for implementation, National Project Officer of the International Labour Office (ILO), Emmanuel Kwame Mensah told GhanaWeb that it will advance efforts to deal with issues of forced labour among fishers.

“When the convention is ratified then it can be translated into a framework for implementation and we encourage that no hindrances or impediments are put in this part so that all the parties supposed to help implement this convention when its ratified will be given the necessary support in terms of logistics.

“The expectation is that after the ratification, now you have a national law that contextualizes the ratification because the context of countries differ from one country to the other. The conventions are very general although they provide some international standards,” he noted.

Mr. Mensah further added that authorization of the Convention will provide the necessary logistics for various stakeholders to work and ultimately lead to measurable results.

“Although we know that ratification is not the final bit, ratification provides an impetus, for actual work to be done to deal with issues of forced labour and provide a decent working environment for our fishers.

“For example, in the fishing sector, there are a number of players; the fisheries ministry, labour ministry, you have the maritime authority who in the context of the country should have the leading mandate to do this inspection,” he said.

Adding,

“You need to talk about the kind of logistics, resources they need to carry out their work, do they have it? Are the personnel available? Are they well-trained? Properly distributed in the areas where work is needed to be done,” he added.

Mr. Mensah spoke on the sidelines of a 2-day training held in Accra, in partnership with the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) for journalists nationwide.



The workshop, among other things, focused on target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 8 which calls on countries to take immediate action against decent work deficits that are an affront to the fundamental principles and rights at work.

Background:

Ghana has ratified the Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (no 81), the Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Convention, 1976 (no 144) as well as a number of technical Conventions.

Two fundamental Conventions; C155 (Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981) and C187 (Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006) remain unratified.

While these are undeniably central to the achievement of the ILO’s goals to promote decent work and protect individuals, specific Conventions which focus on forced labour in the marine fisheries sector also need to be ratified.

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