06/13/2006, 00.00
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Globalisation should not undermine the right to 'decent work', says the Holy See

Unfair financial and trade liberalisation are undercutting access to 'decent work' which can promote human dignity for all, immigrants included. Workers' exploitation today means 270 million work accidents.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Financial and trade liberalisation and the process of globalisation have "produced much wealth, but plenty of evidence shows growing disparities among and within countries in reaping the benefits of this increased wealth". They also have ensured that work can play a "strategic role [. . .] in combating poverty", this according to Mgr Silvano Tomasi, permanent observer of the Holy See to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

In a speech delivered to the 95th Session of International Labour Conference currently underway in Geneva, Mgr Tomasi focused on the need to promote human dignity through 'decent work', including employment for immigrants.

He pointed out that "a globalisation that fosters economic growth without equity blocks access to decent work and calls into question the current functioning of the international structures created to facilitate the flow of ideas, capital, technology, goods and people for the common good."

If the 'decent work' principle is not adopted, "too many people remain excluded from enjoying it because they are indecently exploited or are altogether out of work."

For the papal envoy, the net result is that "tens of millions"—"undocumented migrants working in agriculture, in manufacturing, in domestic service; women in textile industry working in unhealthy conditions and with miserable salaries; workers labelled by their race, cast or religion"— are forced to survive on the margins of the global economy despite their abilities and talents.

Under the circumstances, the international community has a responsibility to bear. "A safe and healthy working environment is an integral component of decent work," Mgr Tomasi said, "especially if we keep in mind that 270 million work accidents are registered every year, [. . . that] 160 million people suffer [. . . from work-related illnesses] and [that] accidents and illnesses [. . . cause] the death of about 5000 workers daily."

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