In Lebanon UN staff to follow code of conduct to protect rights

The code of conduct, the first initiative of its kind by a UNCT in the Middle East, requires UN staff to abide by 21 specific standards regarding the employment of people who care for families and households.At least 53 million people – and possibly as many as 100 million – worldwide are estimated to be domestic workers, with more than four fifths of them women or girls. A large percentage of them are migrants, and many have few rights or face severe exploitation.Last week the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted the Convention on Domestic Workers, aimed at providing such workers with the same basic labour rights as people in other forms of employment.The convention states that domestic workers must have reasonable hours of work, weekly rest for at least 24 consecutive hours, a limit on payment in-kind, clear information on the terms and conditions of employment, as well as respect for fundamental principles and rights at work, including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.The Middle East hosts more than seven million migrant domestic workers, and UN officials said today that the treatment of domestic workers is the subject of much public debate in Lebanon.“We are convinced that on issues of fundamental principles and rights at work, the UN should set an example,” said Maurizio Bussi, the Deputy Regional Director of ILO.“The code of conduct is a voluntary measure,” said Robert Watkins, the UN Resident Coordinator in Lebanon. “By using it, we are challenging ourselves to do more.” 23 June 2011The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Lebanon today announced a code of conduct for UN staff to follow if they employ domestic workers, just one week after international standards were adopted to protect their rights.

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