The I. L. 0. is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Pakistan Post Office is issuing a set of two stamps of 15 Paisa and 50 Paisa denominations on 15th May, 1969 to commemo-rate the occasion. The I. L. 0. was founded in 1919 as part of the peace settlement that followed the First World War. In 1946 it became the first specialised agency of the United Nations. With its tri-partite composition, it brings governments, employers and workers together for united action in the cause of social justice and higher standards of living everywhere. Working on the principle that labour is not a commodity, the I. L. 0. affirms that all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity. The I. L. 0. aims at the economic security for all. Stressing that “poverty anywhere constitutes a danger to prosperity everywhere”, the I. L. 0. maintains that war against want, poverty and insecurity requires to be carried on with unrelenting vigour within each nation as well as by continuous and concerted international efforts. The I. L. 0. is working ceaselessly for the furtherance of industrial peace and amity, the betterment of living and working conditions of workers, for the development of well-knit workers’ organisations, and for the creation of higher skills for workers.
Over these years the I. L.0. has built up a comprehensive code of law and practice for the improvement of the living and working conditions of workers all over the world, particularly in the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Each year, the International Labour Conference—some times referred to as a “World Parliament of Labour”—adopts Conven-tions and Recommendations regulating some aspects of labour administration, labour welfare, trade union rights, safety at work, conditions of employment, etc. Some of the conventions contain basic human rights like abolition of forced labour, free-dom of association for workers and their right to organise, equal pay for equal work, elimination of discrimination in the matter of employment and so on. A Convention becomes binding on a country when it ratifies it. A total of 126 Conventions and 127 Recommendations have been adopted since 1919. These Con-ventions have greatly helped to improve working conditions, to protect the human rights of labour and to promote industrial peace and social security. Pakistan attaches a great deal of im-portance to standards laid down by the I. L. 0. This is borne out by the fact that she has uptil now ratified 29 I. L. 0. Con-ventions—one of the highest in Asia.
Considering that the developing countries need technical assistance, the I. L. 0. has, since the Second World War, con-centrated the greater part of its resources and energies on direct operational activities in the field. The overall I. L. 0. technical co-operations programme now accounts for more than half of the Organisation’s work. The I. L. 0. is also the executive agency of the Special Fund and Technical Assistance sectors of the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) in the labour field. The I. L. 0. helps governments conduct man-power surveys and formulate manpower planning, develop vocational training facilities, improve national employment and social security services, provide for the vocational rehabi-litation of the handicapped, expand workers’ education programme, increase productivity, improve management development etc. Well over half of the I.L.0’s. technical co-operation projects are aimed at the development of human resources, especially through vocational training. Training institutes set up with the I. L. 0. assistance in Iran, Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, Colombia and a number of other countries are contributing to the economic growth of these countries. The I. L. 0. is carry-ing out or is about to embark upon, management development and small industry projects under the Special Fund and Technical Assistance Sectors of the U. N. Development Programmes in 50 countries including Pakistan.
As late as in 1962, a National Manpower Council was set up at Karachi with the assistance of the UN/ILO to find out ways and means to develop and utilize our human resources in a plan-ned way. I. L. 0. has also established an International Centre for Advanced Technical and Vocational Training in Turin. This Centre is meant to provide advanced technical and vocational training at various levels, primarily for the benefit of developing countries, for persons who are considered suitable for more advanced training than they could obtain in their own coun-tries or region. Students from Pakistan attend this Centre. The ILO’s International Institute for labour studies at Geneva, established in March 1960, serves as an advanced staff college in social and labour policy.
In 1969, this great organisation moves gloriously into the second half century ~f its life with the definite and bold objec-tives to launch a World Employment Programme designed to put an end to unemployment and idleness with all their demora-lising impact on an individual and society. The programme has thrilled and rekindled the hope of millions of people in developing countries.
Right after Independence Pakistan became a member of the I. L. 0. and ever since has been taking remarkably keen interest in the affairs of the I. L. 0. Pakistan has always made sincere and ceaseless efforts in this international forum to up-hold and further social justice to all irrespective of race, colour, religion or sex and to abhor and condemn in unequivocal terms every violation or attempted violation of man’s dignity. Pakistan has lent its unfettered support to the I. L. 0. in its struggle against injustice and discrimination in all its manifestations including heinous racial segregation and apartheid.
Pakistan’s unique position in the I. L. 0. is best illustrated by the fact that she was elected to the Presidency of the annual International Labour Conference twice (1958 and 1965) and has been continuously represented in the Government Group on the I.L.0. Governing Body since 1951, except for the term 1954-57. The I. L. 0. Governing Body, elected by the Conference, func-tions as the Organisation’s executive council. It is composed of 24 Government members, 12 employers, members and 12 Workers’ members. Pakistan was elected in the Government Group thrice (1951. 1957 and 1963) as a full member and twice (1960 and 1966) as a deputy member. Similarly, in the Workers’ Group Pakistan was a full member for five consecutive terms (1951, 1954, 1957, 1960 and 1963) and in the Employers’ Group Pakistan has been continuously represented either as a full mem-ber or a deputy member since 1951, except for the term 1957-60.