TUC international development strategy: how human rights fit in

The TUC is launching a new international development strategy today (9 December) and human rights will play a  key role in the strategy – especially freedom of association. Global solidarity, global justice sets out the TUC's goals for the next four years.

Here's a taste of why human rights play such an important role:

"Free, independent and representative trade unions are key to building healthy, democratic states. Trade unions contribute to a strong civil society and enable workers to have a powerful, collective voice in how their country is governed and in holding their governments and international institutions to account.

"Where democracy is weak or nonexistent, human development suffers. Workers are denied access to social justice and decent work; women and vulnerable groups, in particular, are prevented from holding power; and public services and resources are badly targeted. The absence of social dialogue institutions allows national and international business to ride roughshod over the rights of workers, their communities and the environment.

"Because of our democratic nature and resilient members, trade unions are often able to continue their work even during periods of severe repression and are at the forefront of campaigns to restore democracy. Sometimes trade unionists lose their lives as a result.

"As experience has shown in Brazil, South Africa and Zimbabwe, independent trade unions are crucial civil society actors in the fight for fairer societies and democracy. In countries that are emerging from conflict and starting out on a journey towards democracy, trade unions and workers play a fundamental role in rebuilding a society that is more equal and that respects human rights."

Owen Tudor

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