What is the Human Right to Work with Dignity?
The right to work guarantees the opportunity to have fulfilling and dignified work under safe and healthy conditions, with fair wages affording a decent living for oneself and one's family. It also provides for freedom from unemployment and the right to organize. Several key human rights principles are fundamental to the right to work with dignity:
Individual and Collective Right: The right to work is an individual right that belongs to each person and is at the same time a collective right to form and join trade unions.
Availability: The government must provide specialized services to assist and support individuals in order to enable them to identify and find available employment.
Accessibility: The labor market must be open to everyone and free of discrimination, as well as physically accessible to all.
Acceptability and Quality: Workers are entitled to just and favorable work conditions, including safe working conditions, the right to form trade unions, and the right to freely choose and accept work.
- Articles 23 and 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Articles 6,7,8, and10 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
- Articles 8 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- Article 5 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
- Article 11 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
- Article 14 of the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man
In addition, there are United Nations committees (“treaty bodies”) made up of experts that oversee the implementation of particular human rights treaties. These committees oversee the treaties by, among other things, receiving government reports on the implementation of the treaties, making comments to the government reports, and issuing general comments about the treaties or specific rights contained therein.
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