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June 20, 2016

Call to approve ILO convention, policy on HBWs


June 20, 2016


Despite a convention recognising home based workers (HBWs) having been signed by the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) general assembly on June 20, 1996, their silent contribution to the global economy was hardly ever paid attention to, observed civil society activists of Sunday.

Marking two decades of the passing of ILO’s Home Work Convention (C177), 1996, representatives of HomeNet Pakistan along with other civil society members called for Pakistan to ratify the convention at the earliest.

Addressing the presser, HomeNet’s representative Rehana Yasmin observed that female workers although making up a significant proportion of the workforce were still denied their basic rights.

The Kathmandu Declaration of 2000 and the South Asian Regional Plan of Action for Home-Based Workers, 2007, were a few of the legislations identified by Rehana.

The conventions recognise home-based workers, call for their share of work to be included in mainstream economies as well as formulation of national policies safeguarding their rights, and their integration into national and regional markets.

She observed that after a decade long struggle, the policy draft of HBWs was finalised and presented in cabinet of Sindh for approval – pending for over four years now.

“We can link the drafting of the policy as the HBWs empowerment to international commitment but the government needs to immediately ratify C-177.”

She demanded approval of HBWs policy in cabinets of Punjab and Sindh and in other provinces, Rehana stated, adding, HBWs should be included in the social protection system.

The Sindh government should develop informal workers and utilise their potential to generate revenue for the province, she observed.

Mehnaz Rehman of the Aurat Foundation said Pakistan had achieved a milestone in policy formulation but it was very important to ensure the law was practically implemented.

A representative of Piler said the Sindh government’s claims of being pro-poor and pro-women were hollow since the informal sector was yet to be regulated and protected. He stated that HBW comprises a major portion of the informal sector and, thus, needs exclusive legislative cover.

He also demanded speedy approval of HBWs draft policy in Sindh.  A signature campaign was also organised after the event by the activists.

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