ILO report calls for new efforts to support people with disabilities in the world of work
Type Press release
Date issued 03 December 2007
Unit responsible Communication and Public Information
Subjects disability benefits, employment accident benefits, disabilities, disabled workers
GENEVA (ILO News) – Despite significant progress in recent years in improving their livelihoods, new efforts are needed to break down barriers that still prevent millions of people with disabilities from working and contributing to the economic growth of their societies, according to a new ILO report released for the International Day of Disabled Persons on 3 December.
What’s more, the new report, entitled “The right to decent work of persons with disabilities”, says such significant and sustained efforts are vital, not only to promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in employment, rural development and poverty reduction programmes, but also in moving toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for halving poverty by the year 2015.
The ILO estimates that some 650 million people – or one out of every 10 people in the world – has a disability, and that of these, approximately 470 million are of working age. While many are successfully employed and fully integrated into society, people with disabilities as a group often face disproportionate levels of poverty and unemployment.
The good news, according to the report, is that “countries around the world are increasingly recognizing that disabled people represent enormous potential, frequently untapped; that they have a valuable contribution to make to the national economy; that their employment reduces the cost of disability benefits and may reduce poverty; and that concerted action is needed to dismantle the barriers which prevent many disabled people from taking part in the economy and society” (Preface, p. vii).
However, too many barriers remain that stop disabled people from realizing their full potential “There is a strong link between disability and poverty”, the new ILO report says, adding that an estimated 80 per cent of all people with disabilities in the world live in developing countries. Of these, it says some 426 million live below the poverty line and often represent the 15-to-20 per cent most vulnerable and marginalized poor in such countries (Note 1).
“Decent work is the ILO’s primary goal for everyone, including people with disabilities”, says ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. “When we promote the rights and dignity of people with disabilities, we are empowering individuals, enriching societies and strengthening economies. We must intensify our efforts to step up the pace of change.”
Citing World Bank studies estimating that social exclusion from the workplace costs the global economy between US$ 1.37 to US$ 1.94 trillion in estimated annual loss in GDP (Note 2), the ILO Skills and Employability Department added that “providing decent work for people with disabilities thus makes social as well as economic sense”.
The new ILO report highlights many challenges faced by people with disabilities in the world of work, including: concentration in low-level, low-paid jobs; lack of adequate representation at higher levels; problems of access to workplace areas, transportation and housing; the risk of losing benefits on starting work; and prejudices among co-workers, employers and the general public. It also says people with disabilities in the world of work tend to experience higher unemployment and have lower earnings than persons without disabilities, or are often underemployed.
“This is not to suggest that there has been no improvement”, the ILO report says. “The significant growth in domestic anti-discrimination legislation in recent years is encouraging, even though adoption of a law does not guarantee its enforcement. The persistent efforts of international agencies and in particular the ILO, in promoting equal opportunity and treatment in employment continue to make important inroads into the economic and social exclusion of persons with disabilities.”
The ILO said the new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) adopted in December of last year will reinforce national and international efforts and provide a renewed impetus in eliminating discrimination on the basis of disability and in positively promoting inclusion. The principles of the new UN Convention are in line with relevant ILO standards, including Convention No. 159 on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons).
Convention No. 159 has been ratified by 80 countries. It requires that representative organizations of employers and workers, as well as those of disabled persons, be consulted on the implementation of national policy on vocational rehabilitation and employment for disabled people. This theme of consultation with key stakeholders is also emphasized in the new Convention.
Besides anti-discrimination measures by governments, employers and trade unions play an important role in managing disability in the workplace, the report says.
This year’s International Day marks a new effort by the ILO to promote the principle of decent work among people with disabilities. The ILO said it hopes the event would help foster greater understanding of issues affecting people with disabilities in the world of work and help mobilize new support for their rights at work.
The new ILO report can be downloaded for free in PDF format in English (follow the link and scroll down the screen until you see the title, “The right to decent work of persons with disabilities“; 393 Kb). The report will eventually be made available in French (Le droit des personnes handicapees au travail decent), Spanish (El derecho al trabajo decente de las personas con discapacidades), Amharic, Arabic, Bahasa, German, Hindi, Japanese, Kiswahili, Mandarin, Mongolian, Portugese, Russian, Thai, and Vietnamese.
Note 1 – The right to decent work of persons with disabilities, by Arthur O’Reilly. International Labour Office, Geneva, 2007. ISBN 9778-92-2-120144-1. To order a copy, please visit: http://www.ilo.org/publns.
Note 2 – Robert L. Metts (2000) Disability Issues, Trends and Recommendations for the World Bank, World Bank Washington..
Most of the text for this blog post is taken from an ILO press release. We Can Do has modified it slightly to add a quote from the report and to link to where you can download the report (when you reach the ILO page, scroll down a little to find the report). I first learned of this report via the “UN News by Email” distribution list.
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This announcement from Debra A. Perry, Senior Specialist in Vocational Rehabilitation, International Labour Office, has been circulating within the international disability community. It has been slightly modified by We Can Do.
As organizations and agencies interested in decent work and persons with disabilities, I am asking you to publicize or get actively involved in an ILO/DPI/Irish Aid regional Asia-Pacific awareness campaign to promote the UN International Day of Disabled Persons. The theme of the campaign this year is Decent Work and People with Disabilities. The campaign centers
around a photo contest that will be launched in Bangkok on 25 October at 10:30 AM and will close at noon on 21 November. The timeframe is short but the opportunity to promote decent work and disabled persons is great. However, we need your help!
Would you please help in promoting this event by sending out the press release, invitation to participate and other materials? We encourage you to contact the local ILO office in your country, which may be already translating the documents (ask for the media focal point) or, if translation is not necessary, to send it to interested stakeholders. These might include media contacts, photo clubs (just try www.google.com in your country and search for photography clubs to get a list), your organisation’s network, universities with media or photography programmes, or through other networks or organizations that you think will be interested.
Please also consider getting directly involved by submitting a photo! You, your family members or friends are most welcome to submit a photo according to the Terms and Conditions of the competition. All your questions–including the Terms and Conditions–should be answered on the web site for the competition, www.jigsaw-communications.com/ILO.
We hope the contest will be a success but more importantly we want to get the messages about decent work and disability out to as many people as possible and to get people involved in promoting positive images about disabled persons working or advocating for their rights to decent work.
Please review the attached materials for your information and please distribute them as soon as possible.
Many thanks for your help!
Debra A. Perry
Senior Specialist in Vocational Rehabilitation
International Labour Office
10th Floor, UN Building
Rajdamnern Nok Avenue
P.O. Box 2-349, Rajdamnern
Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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This is another announcement that I first saw on the Intl-Dev mailing list:
<b>Labour market integration of people with disabilities</b>
ILO Training course for professionals from developing countries
Dates: 15 – 24 October 2007
<>Study visit: London, UK (21 – 24 October)
Alessandra Molz, Programme Officer
<>Turin, 22 June 2007
Dear Sir or Madam,
I have the pleasure of announcing that the ILO International Training Centre is offering a course on “Labour market integration of people with disabilities” (course A900838). The course language will be English and registration is open to policy makers, researchers and representatives of institutions working on disability and social inclusion issues. Participants from Africa, Arab States, Asia, the Pacific, the CIS, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean are welcome to apply.
This course offers participants the possibility to learn more about legislation, mechanisms and effective measures for the labour market integration of people with disabilities, as well as to strengthen their capacity to analyse and design comprehensive policies. It also provides the opportunity to get to know the experience and good practice of different European countries and an excellent forum for knowledge-sharing and networking across countries and continents.
The conditions of participation are the following:
The price of the course is US$ 4,490. This amount includes the cost of training and subsistence (full board and lodging at the Turin Centre and during the study tour).
The ILO International Training Centre offers a number of partial fellowships to co-finance the costs of the course. If you wish to apply for a fellowship, please contact us as soon as possible. The partial fellowships are for US$ 2,000. The difference is US$ 2,490.
Participants or institutions that do not have enough funds to cover the difference of the cost of the course or the airfare might wish to seek co-funding from donor institutions in their own countries. Some development agencies, development banks and embassies provide co-funding for training.
Not included is the cost of international air travel from the country of origin to Turin and from Turin to London (study tour), which has to be covered by the participants.
The study tour will take place at the end of the course (21 – 24 October). We recommend that participants book the following ticket routing: home country – Turin – London (4 days’ stopover) – home country.
In order to register and to apply for a partial fellowship, please send us:
1. A completed nomination form (attached);
2. A “letter of commitment” by the participant’s organization (or a donor organization) stating that it will cover:
a) the remaining cost of the course, namely US$ 2,490;
b) the international return ticket to Turin and the air ticket to London for the study tour.
These documents should be sent to:
Ms. Alessandra MOLZ: email@example.com. Tel: +39011693 6428
Ms. Elisabetta BELLORA: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: +39011-693 6561. Fax: +39011-693 6451
For more information <a href=”http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/eurpro/budapest/download/turin_flyer.pdf”>http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/eurpro/budapest/download/turin_flyer.pdf</a>
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION
31 August 2007.
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