Domestic workers launch global social media campaign for their rights

By staff writers
June 19, 2015

Christian Aid, Migrant Forum Asia and domestic workers rights organisations from around the world have joined together to launch #OurHands, a new social media campaign to raise domestic workers’ awareness of their rights.
 
The launch took place on Wednesday (16 June), International Domestic Workers' Day. This year it celebrates the fourth anniversary of the adoption of the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 189, concerned with 'Decent Work for Domestic Workers'.
 
Agnes Matienzo of Migrant Forum Asia said that domestic workers “deserve to have their rights respected and protected. This exciting campaign is designed to use social media to educate and inform domestic workers around the world about their rights.”

The campaign aims to create an empowering environment for domestic workers to articulate their rights, organise themselves, negotiate their terms of employment and discuss issues that concern them.
 
“Everyone is invited to participate in this campaign,” added Matienzo. “Whether you are a domestic worker, an organisation that works on worker rights issues, a student or academic writing about domestic worker issues, a faith-based organisation interested in working on outreach, a journalist or a policy-maker – all are welcome to engage with us on social media as we join #OurHands to spread the word about domestic worker rights!”
 
The groups behind the campaign say that there are approximately 53 million domestic workers worldwide. Many are migrant workers and most are women. They carry out essential work, providing care for children and elderly people and supporting the households of their employers as well as their own families.
 
Christian Aid reports that many countries fail to protect domestic workers' labour and human rights. Such workers are especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, with their work difficult to regulate as it takes place in private households. In some countries, including the UK, visas are tied to employment, which means workers cannot easily leave an abusive employer.
 
Although the domestic workers' convention was introduced four years ago, it has only been ratified by 20 countries. The campaign calls for governments to make a strong political commitment to not only ratify the convention, but also to implement its provisions into their national labour legislation.
 
These include allowing domestic workers to form and join trade unions and to be included in national labour laws, as well as providing human and financial resources to enable domestic workers' organisations and support groups to advocate effectively.

 “Raising awareness is a crucial step in enabling domestic workers to work together to ensure that their rights are protected and upheld”, said Agnes Matienzo. “We look forward to working with governments and employers and standing alongside domestic workers to ensure that their rights are protected; that domestic work is seen as work; and domestic workers are treated as workers entitled to rights like any other worker.”

* Find out more about the campaign and join #Ourhands via its website and social media platforms: www.DWRights.org, Facebook page (Facebook.com/DomesticWorkerRights), and Twitter feed: twitter.com/dw_rights.

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