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The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association for disenfranchised workers

May 25, 2016
construction worker
In his upcoming report to the UN General Assembly to be presented in October 2016, the Special Rapporteur will examine the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association (FOAA) for disenfranchised workers.

The Special Rapporteur considers disenfranchised workers those who are most marginalized or left behind when it comes to the exercise of FOAA rights. They could include a young woman working and living as a domestic worker in her employer’s home, a construction laborer hired day-by-day, a migrant worker on an export fishing boat who borrowed money from family to pay an agency fee, a refugee with limited knowledge of the national language trying to make some money and a mother of three picking vegetables and moving from farm to farm following the harvest seasons. 

This is the first time that the Special Rapporteur will be addressing these issues, so it is of utmost importance that trade unions in the public sector voice their opinion. The attached questionnaire solicits information with a view to assisting the Special Rapporteur in his assessment.

The Special Rapporteur is particularly interested in the links between the political, social, and economic exclusion of workers, their associations and trade unions, as expressed in:

  1. The limitation and/or criminalization of assembly and association rights in law and in practice (and acquiescence of the State when these rights are breached by state or private actors);
  2. The exclusion of workers in the informal economy from legal frameworks recognizing assembly and association rights;
  3. The strategy to informalize more work for the purpose of limiting or excluding workers from exercising their assembly and association rights;
  4. The lack of effective global governance of migration, which has led to the exploitation of migrant workers

The Special Rapporteur will also explore the interplay between the lack of assembly and association rights for workers and the standing of these rights within a society as a whole.

All responses received will be made public in October 2016. Civil society/unions/workers may request that identity remain confidential if they so wish (only the country where they operate will be disclosed). Please clearly state in your response if you would like your identity to remain confidential.

Completed questionnaires should be e-mailed to freeassembly@ohchr.org with a copy to rights@world-psi.org.

You may submit your responses in English, French or Spanish until 30 June 2016.

You can access the questionnaire here.


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