Minister of Labour and Social Security, Honourable Shahine Robinson on 13 June 2017, deposited Jamaica’s instruments of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, as amended (MLC, 2006) as well as of the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930.
Jamaica is the 84th Member State of the ILO that ratifies the land-mark Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, as amended (MLC, 2006). J
amaica has a strategically important position within the global liner shipping network and is considered to be a hub in the global network in view of the high level of connectivity it offers despite a relative low level of trade.
Through the ratification of the Protocol, Jamaica follows in the footsteps of 13 other countries spread out all over the world. It takes the lead in the Caribbean region in the fight against forced labour. A total of 21 million people are victims of forced labour around the world and the ILO estimates that this exploitation generates some US$150 billion a year in illicit profits.
The Forced Labour Protocol requires governments to adopt new measures designed to prevent all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons, to protect victims and guarantee them access to justice and compensation.
Minister Robinson stated that “in ratifying the Maritime Labour Convention, as amended, 2006, Jamaica is demonstrating its commitment to ensure decent working conditions for seafarers through the application of international standards while facilitating global commerce. Jamaica boasts the premier maritime training institute within the English-speaking Caribbean and is also one of the major logistics hubs in this region.
Given this background, Jamaica sees the ratification of this Instrument as a natural and key step in securing the rights of seafarers within our jurisdiction in keeping with the highest global standards”.
The Minister also declared that “the ratification of the Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention reflects Jamaica’s commitment to combat trafficking in persons and reject forced labour in all its forms. Jamaica has a strong legal framework and a national taskforce that works to combat trafficking in persons. We will do our part in the renewed global effort to eradicate all forms of forced labour.”
On receiving these instruments of ratification, the Director-General of the ILO, Guy Ryder, expressed his pleasure in counting Jamaica among the States parties to these two Instruments, stating: “These ratifications are a further testimony to Jamaica’s ongoing commitment to promote and implement decent work and fundamental rights at work.
The ratification of the Protocol demonstrates its involvement in efforts to eradicate forced labour in the sub-region and brings us one step closer towards reaching the target of the 50forfreedom campaign – 50 ratifications by the end of 2018.
In addition, through the ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, as amended, 2006, Jamaica is also joining the global effort to promote decent living and working conditions for seafarers while ensuring a level playing field in the maritime industry.”
The ILO International Labour Conference is held annually in June in Switzerland to craft and adopt international labour standards, and provides a forum for discussion on global labour and social issues.
This year, the Conference is being held under theme “Building a Future with Decent Work” and runs up to May 17, 2017.