By Daniel Maul (auth.)
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Extra resources for Human Rights, Development and Decolonization: The International Labour Organization, 1940–70
According to this clause, Conventions adopted by the Conference would apply as a matter of principle to non-autonomous territories (or “non-self-governing territories” to use the ILO terminology of the inter-war period), (a) except where local conditions made the Convention inapplicable and (b) subject to such modifications as considered necessary to adapt the Convention to local conditions. 11 In practice, however, Article 35 provided the colonial powers with an effective means to ensure, up to the Second World War, that all initiatives aimed at achieving more rapid social progress in the colonies, or at securing the larger-scale implementation of ILO norms, came to nothing.
From a humanitarian point of view, the Organization deserves applause for notching up some significant achievements. Despite the constitutional obstacles facing it, the ILO managed to draw attention to the most pressing problems of colonial labour in the period between the wars. It highlighted the dark side of the philanthropic rhetoric used to justify colonialism in the 1920s and early 1930s and, by creating instruments to counter the worst abuses of colonial labour, contributed to establishing, in international discourse, the staged abolition of such abuses as the mark of progressive (colonial) policy.
The issue under debate was whether and how the provisions of international labour standards could be applied to overseas territories. The starting position of the colonial powers on the matter was highly restrictive. The delegation representing the British Empire originally wanted each administering power to have sole discretion on whether and to what extent a Convention would apply to its overseas territories. This position stemmed from the fear that a system whereby the colonial power was forced to declare openly whether it held a Convention to be applicable to its territories or not would be the first step in the direction of international accountability.
Human Rights, Development and Decolonization: The International Labour Organization, 1940–70 by Daniel Maul (auth.)
Categories: Labor Industrial Relations