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Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine from the perspective of the mandate of the International Labour Organization (ILO)

On March 23, 2022, the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization has adopted the Resolution on the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine by 42 votes for (8 against and 2 abstentions)

Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine from the perspective of the mandate of the International Labour Organization (ILO)


March 23, 2022


 The Governing Body of the International Labour Office 


Recalling adoption of the UN General Assembly resolution (A/RES/ES-11/1) entitled Aggression Against Ukraine on 2 March 2022, and the UN Human Rights Council resolution (A/HRC/49/L.1) on 4 March 2022, on the situation of human rights in Ukraine stemming from the Russian Federation’s aggression;

Welcoming  establishment of a Commission of Inquiry under the above-referenced UN Human Rights Council resolution;

Welcoming the legally binding provisional measures order by the International Court of Justice ordering the Russian Federation to immediately suspend the military operation that it commenced on 24 February 2022 in the territory of Ukraine;

Solemnly reaffirming the principle enshrined in the ILO Constitution that universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice;

Recalling that the Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work considered “that the experience of the past century has confirmed that the continuous and concerted action of governments and representatives of employers and workers is essential to the achievement of social justice, democracy and the promotion of universal and lasting peace”;

Recalling the Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation, 2017 (No. 205), particularly in regard to considering the long-lasting impact and consequences of conflicts for poverty and development, human and labour rights and dignity, decent work and sustainable enterprises;

Recalling also that the Centenary Declaration considered that persistent poverty, inequalities and injustices, conflict, disasters and other humanitarian emergencies in many parts of the world constitute a threat to economic and social progress and to securing shared prosperity and decent work for all;

Endorsing the ILO Director General’s statement of 3 March 2022, in which he affirmed that the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine is a brutal repudiation of the Organization’s mission to promote peace through social justice, and that among its first victims will be working people;

Expressing grave concerns at reports of civilian casualties and attacks on civilian facilities, and the severe impact on workers and employers risking their lives to continue working and operating, including during attacks on hospitals, schools, transportation, businesses and nuclear power plants, further worsened by the lack of humanitarian access;

Also expressing grave concerns about the devastating impact and tragic consequences of the aggression on the safety and the livelihoods of employers, workers and their families in Ukraine, and about the long-term detrimental impact to Ukraine’s labour market and economy caused by the forced displacement of the workforce and the destruction of workplaces, critical civilian infrastructure and schools;

Recognizing the serious impact on the capacity of employers in Ukraine to provide for decent work and the sustainability of their enterprises and commending employers for their ongoing volunteering efforts;

Commending trade unions and civil society groups for their generous and massive supporting and volunteering efforts to reach out to those in need;

Expressing its unwavering support for the tripartite constituents in Ukraine – workers, employers and its democratically-elected Government – at this most difficult time;

Deploring the impact on the ILO’s staff in Ukraine and their work to implement Decent Work Country Programme and development cooperation programmes;

Recognizing the enormous scale of internally displaced persons and refugees, mostly women, children and elderly people, forced to flee their homes, workplaces, enterprises, communities and country, seeking safety, resulting in a humanitarian disaster significantly impacting neighbouring countries of Ukraine and others around the globe;

Expressing strong concerns about the potential impact of this aggression on increased global food insecurity and energy insecurity, with rising food- and energy prices and risks of increasing poverty and inequalities in several regions in the world;

Declares that the continuing aggression by the Russian Federation, aided by the Belarusian Government, against Ukraine is grossly incompatible with the aims and purposes of the Organization and principles governing ILO membership;

Calls upon the Russian Federation to immediately and unconditionally cease its aggression, withdraw its troops from Ukraine, end the suffering it is inflicting on the people of Ukraine, as well as refrain from any further unlawful threat or use of force against any Member State and take the path of peaceful resolution consistent with the UN Charter and international law; Requests the International Labour Office to join with the rest of the United Nations system in providing all possible assistance within the remit of the ILO to tripartite constituents in Ukraine;

Demands all parties to allow safe and unhindered passage to safe destinations outside of Ukraine, including for seafarers, and urges immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for those in need;

Urges all Members to take measures, in accordance with national and applicable international law, to protect and ensure labour rights and a safe environment for all those fleeing Ukraine, in particular all those in vulnerable situations;

Requests the International Labour Office to work with constituents in developing programmes relevant to the ILO’s mandate to support those who fled Ukraine and tripartite constituents in Ukraine;

Makes a pressing appeal to all constituents, to consider the adoption of appropriate measures to urge the Russian Federation to respect in full its duties and obligations arising from ILO membership, as well as cease violations and abuses preventing fulfilment of labour rights in Ukraine;

Decides, while safeguarding the ILO’s technical cooperation or assistance to all other countries within the purview of the ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team and Country Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, to temporarily suspend technical cooperation or assistance from the ILO to the Russian Federation, except for the purpose of humanitarian assistance, until a ceasefire is agreed and a peaceful resolution is implemented;

Requests the International Labour Office to explore options to safeguard the technical cooperation or assistance to all other countries in the aforementioned region, including the possible relocation of the ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team and Country Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia to an area outside of the Russian Federation;

Decides to suspend invitations to the Russian Federation to attend all discretionary meetings, such as technical meetings and meetings of experts, conferences and seminars whose composition is set by the Governing Body;

and Decides to remain seized of this matter and requests the Director-General to follow the situation in Ukraine and to submit for the consideration of the 345th Session (June 2022) of the Governing Body a report on the application of the present resolution including any necessary recommendations with a view to addressing the impact of Russian Federation’s continuing aggression on the ILO’s work, mandate and tripartite constituents in Ukraine.