A Bangladeshi woman who cleans houses in Jordan receives aid from Caritas Jordan. Credits: Laura Sheahen/Caritas

A Bangladeshi woman who cleans houses in Jordan receives aid from Caritas Jordan.
Credits: Laura Sheahen/Caritas

The UN International Labour Organization (ILO) has announced that a second country, the Philippines, has just ratified Convention 189/2011 for Decent Work for Domestic Workers. Uruguay was the first country to ratify this Convention last June.

This is the second breakthrough after adoption by ILO members in June 2010. Caritas says it is now very important to keep international attention up on these set of rules, so that more countries who are ILO member States also ratify it.

Ratification means also that domestic workers have real access to redress mechanisms, when their contracts or their rights in general are not respected. It’s also a deterrent for employment agencies and employers who do not play by the rules.

In 2009, Caritas Internationalis started a campaign for migrant domestic workers’ rights. Many Caritas members provide services to domestic workers and had expressed their concern about the abuses such workers had to suffer.

The campaign contributed to the drafting of ILO Convention No. 189 and its adoption. The Convention sets the standard for all domestic workers and it has some special provisions for domestic workers who are also international migrants and/or minors (especially articles 4 and 8).

After Convention 189 was adopted, Caritas started a campaign for its ratification, encouraging its members to lobby their national governments to amend their national legislation to be in line with the new convention and thus protect domestic workers.

Caritas also joined forces with other organisations, such as the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Associazione Cristiana Lavoratori Italiani (ACLI) to have more impact worldwide.

Caritas says millions domestic workers worldwide can now look forward to being treated with the respect they deserve for the important tasks they play, taking care of the elderly, children and homes worldwide of many other workers, whose households could not otherwise function.