The Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Gilbert F. Houngbo, called upon countries to, “bend the arc of history in favour of social justice” as he addressed a two-day World of Work Summit in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Greater social justice gives us a cause to rally round. But is much more than that. It is a driving force that can steer us towards a more equitable and sustainable future. As such, it must become our guiding principle, for both policies and action,” said Houngbo.
World of Work Summit: Let’s bend the arc of history in favour of social justice, says ILO Director-General
An ICIJ Investigation:
Based upon the most expansive leak of tax haven files in history, the investigation reveals the secret deals and hidden assets of more than 330 politicians and high-level public officials in more than 90 countries and territories, including 35 country leaders. The Pandora Papers lays bare the global entanglement of political power and secretive offshore finance.
ICIJ obtained more than 11.9 million financial records, containing 2.94 terabytes of confidential information from 14 offshore service providers, enterprises that set up and manage shell companies and trusts in tax havens around the globe. ICIJ shared the files with 150 media partners, launching the broadest collaboration in journalism history. For nearly two years, ICIJ organized and led an investigation that grew to encompass more than 600 journalists in 117 countries and territories.
Read more about it: Pandora Papers – ICIJ
The emancipatory fight against the climate crisis will only have a chance if, in addition to preserving the natural foundations of life, better living conditions become conceivable for many people. ‘Better’ does not mean ‘more and more’; accordingly, climate justice must be based on experiences and feelings of injustice and exploitation. And these must be translated into changed social conditions.
Read the article by Ulrich Brand
A strong social contract is a precious resource in any country. Without it, citizens will be reluctant to pay their taxes resulting in governments being unable to collect the revenues they need to offer good quality public services to their citizens. The fundamental building block of a strong social contract is citizens being able to trust their Governments. As Sweden’s Ministry of Finance argues, governments build trust through the provision of universal public services.
Read the paper from Development Pathways, Stephen Kidd et al.
Donor governments do not have to fund poor country debt relief from their fiscal budgets. They can tap long-unused reserve assets available at the IMF called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).
Read the article by Barry Herman from the Globalist
The COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on structural and longstanding problems that are undermining the right to health, including fragmentation and inequalities within the health system. Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and guaranteeing gender-sensitive health public services require a people-centred and feminist approach to development finance that takes account of hard lessons learned during the coronavirus crisis and beyond.
In the 1980s and 1990s, national health systems in developing countries were transformed by structural adjustments programmes provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. This resulted in the contraction and decentralisation of public healthcare services, as well as the opening of the health sector to private providers, the introduction of healthcare user fees and an increased precariousness of health professionals’ labour conditions. These policies aggravated the commodification and privatisation of healthcare, resulting in increased inequalities.
Read the article
by María José Romero from Eurodad
Building a New Welfare State
All of a sudden, the coronacrisis made it crystal clear: all people, all countries need a good system of health care! What has been obvious for some all the time, now becomes the new truth for all those who thought social protection was something of the past, or something only rich countries could afford thanks to their profits from colonisation …
The real truth is that all people, everywhere and in all times have exactly the same basic needs: health care, water, clean air, shelter, food and clothing, education… In what way this will be provided will differ from people to people and from country to country. But in all cases the systems that are put into place should be able to answer the real needs and demands of the people concerned. It also means that for psychological or spiritual needs, the local chaman, marabou, herbalist or other witch doctor can certainly help, but professional health care is needed to cure people from viruses and other illnesses.
It is therefore important to know just what is on offer. What different possibilities exist? What ideology to follow? These are not easy choices because much will depend on the government in place, on the available resources and on the strength of the social movements fighting for social justice.
I would like to briefly distinguish three possible options: Continue reading
The Covid-19 pandemic has once again exposed the
fragility of global supply chains and the enormous risks
to human and labour rights in a highly interconnected
global economy that is not governed by the rule of
With the global drop in demand as a result of the
pandemic, many companies have resorted to abruptly
ending the procurement of goods and services and
even to defaulting on prior commitments made – with
the consequence of a disastrous impact for workers
in global supply chains. In Bangladesh, more than half
of the garment suppliers reported that they had their
in-process or completed production cancelled, which
has led to massive job losses and workers getting
furloughed. More than 98.1% of buyers refused to
contribute to the cost of paying the partial wages to
furloughed workers required under national law. 72.4%
of furloughed workers were sent home without pay.
Read this ITUC Report
The breakdown of the social contract has been exposed in the 2020 ITUC Global Rights Index with violations of workers’ rights at a seven-year high.
This trend, by governments and employers, to restrict the rights of workers through limiting collective bargaining, disrupting the right to strike, and excluding workers from unions, has been made worse by a rise in the number of countries that impede the registration of unions.
An increase in the number of countries that deny or constrain freedom of speech shows the fragility of democracies while the number of countries restricting access to justice has remained unacceptably high at last year’s levels.
A new trend identified in 2020 shows a number of scandals over government surveillance of trade union leaders in an attempt to instill fear and put pressure on independent unions and their members.
The containment measures, whether full lockdown or partial confinement, gradually put in place by nearly every government around the world in response to the Covid-19 pandemic that has been under way for some months, have shown – if it was not already obvious – just how important it is to observe and effectively implement all human rights (civil, political, economic, social and cultural), even as it has brought to light numerous violations of those rights.
Read this new CETIM report