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    Malaysia designates COVID-19 as occupational disease

    April 8, 2020 in Latest News

    Malaysia designates COVID-19 as occupational disease

    Employees who are infected with COVID-19 due to direct exposure to the disease from their nature of work can now claim for compensation.
    By: | April 8, 2020
    Topics: Malaysia | News

    Malaysia’s Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) has moved to clarify that COVID-19 is recognised as an occupational disease under the country’s Employment Social Security Act 1969.

    “The Social Security Organisation recognises the impact of pandemics such as COVID-19 not only to the health of workers, but also to the financial, social and wellbeing of individuals and the nation,” said SOCSO in a Facebook post. “Workers may be affected due to their nature of work, which increased their risk to infection, such as frontline workers, or it may affect workers in relation to their employment, such as from exposure to infected persons while doing their work.”

    Highlighting that it has already addressed infections such as SARS and COVID-19 in the Fifth Schedule of  the Employment Social Security Act 1969 as an occupational disease, SOCSO confirmed that employees who contract COVID-19 due to direct exposure as a result of the nature of their work can claim for compensation. Similarly, employees who are infected due to their exposure arising out of, and in the course of their employment, will be covered under the Employment Injury Scheme. This applies for both the Employees’ Social Security Act 1969 and the Self Employment Social Security Act 2017 (Act 789).

    Additionally, patients who are infected from any other source and sustain permanent disablement, causing invalidity or death, may also be compensated through the Invalidity Pension Scheme of the Employees’ Social Security Act 1969.

    SOCSO’s move comes after a group representing 51 different work unions and societies called for the Malaysian government to recognise COVID-19 as an occupational disease to allow public assistance in the event of infection or worse. Prominent among the group of 51 signatories are the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), Workers Hub For Change (WH4C), MTUC Sarawak, the PKNS Union, and the National Union of Flight Attendants (NUFAM).

    The group also pushed for laws compelling employers to provide safe working environments for their staff. Employers should, said the group, be legally bound to provide a safe environment, including safety from infection via human to human contact at the workplace from diseases like COVID-19.



    Uruguay becomes first country to ratify ILO Convention 190

    January 22, 2020 in Latest News

    Uruguay is the first country in the world to ratify the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Convention 190, which recognizes that violence and harassment in the world of work can constitute a human rights violation.

    The new Convention and Recommendation were adopted at the International Labour Conference in June, 2019. The Convention recognizes that violence and harassment are a threat to equal opportunities and are unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.

    The government of Uruguay submitted the ratification bill to Parliament in September 2019, and the House of Representatives unanimously adopted the bill on 17 December 2019, making Uruguay the first ILO Member State to ratify C190.

    “As it has now ratified the ILO Convention, Uruguay will have to adopt an inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach to preventing and eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work. This will apply to both the private and public sectors, to the formal and informal economy, and in both urban or rural areas,”said an official statement released by the Office of the President of Uruguay.


    The statement also said that legislation will require employers to take appropriate steps to prevent violence and harassment in the world of work.

    The ratification process was facilitated by the fact that Uruguay already has laws in place to address some of the issues covered by C190, such as legislation on sexual harassment in the workplace and concerning student-teacher relationships, as well as on gender-based violence against women.

    In November last year, IndustriALL Global Union launched a campaign to encourage affiliates to work together to ensure the ratification of the Convention and incorporation into domestic law. Through the gender office of Uruguay’s central union PIT-CNT, IndustriALL’s affiliates in Uruguay were actively involved in the tripartite talks on the ratification process. Gender office representative and UNTMRA member Fernanda Ceballos says on the recent ratification:

    “We promoted the ratification of C190 in Uruguay from the gender equality and diversity office of PIT-CNT. We have worked on the issue of sexual harassment and zero tolerance of violence in the workplace for a long time, and we are very aware of the issue of raising awareness with the different unions through workshops on gender violence.

    “In turn, we work on gender clauses, in conjunction with companies and the labour ministry. Once C190 was ratified, we held assemblies with UNTMRA to inform people of its scope. Many workers affiliated with UNTMRA have faced  of sexual harassment at work, so we believe that ratification is very important to fight for a world of violence-free work.”

    IndustriALL’s regional secretary, Marino Vani, says:

    “Convention 190 is an important tool for fighting discrimination and inequality in the workforce. We congratulate our affiliates in Uruguay for their tireless efforts to tackle gender-based violence, and the government for ratifying the new convention, which will help to create a world of work that is free of violence and harassment.”

    Source : http://www.industriall-union.org/uruguay-becomes-first-country-to-ratify-ilo-convention-190

    Keraniganj factory fire (Bangladesh): Death toll rises to 11

    December 12, 2019 in Latest News

    Ten employees including an engineer, who were severely burnt in yesterday’s factory fire in Keraniganj, died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital today.

    With this, the death toll from the fire at the plastic factory in Hijoltola area, on the outskirts of Dhaka, raised to 11.

    Ten of the deceased identities were found out of 11.

    Yesterday, at least one worker was killed and 33 others were severely burnt in the fire. Ten of them suffered 100 percent burns and the rest have burns in at least 20 percent of their bodies.

    Of the injured, 10 workers died at the burn unit of the hospital between 2:00 am and 9:00 am, DMCH Resident Surgeon Dr Nabin told The Daily Star.

    One of the injured workers Zakir Hossain, 22, said the fire broke out at a room where eight cylinders of inflammable gas were kept. He added that there was a leak in the lines.

    Around 300 people worked in two shifts at Prime Patent Plastic Limited. Around 150 people, including many women, were working when the fire started, said Zakir, who has been working there for the last four years for a monthly salary of Tk 12,000.

    Police said the fire broke out around 4:15pm and engulfed the large tin shack quickly.

    The factory used to manufacture single-use plastic glasses and plates.

    Source : The Daily Star

    Link : https://www.thedailystar.net/country/news/keraniganj-fire-death-toll-rises-9-1839316

    23 dead, 130 injured in Sudan factory fire

    December 9, 2019 in Latest News

    At least 23 people died and more than 130 were injured in Sudan after a fire triggered an explosion at a factory in northern Khartoum on 03 December 2019, according to state news agency SUNA.
    The incident happened while a tanker truck was offloading gas at a ceramics manufacturing company in an industrial area of the city, SUNA reported.
    Sudan’s Council of Ministers said it had set up a committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the fire and how such accidents could be prevented, the agency said.

    The preliminary death toll from the fire was 15, according to the Sudanese Doctors Union, which called on their colleagues that were off-duty to rush to the hospitals to help.
    Source : CNN

    Human rights are at threat from climate change, but can also provide solutions (UN Environment

    October 24, 2019 in Latest News

    Report on Environment 

    Key findings from the report to the United Nations General Assembly by David Boyd- the Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. This report was developed with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme as part of our continued partnership with the Rapporteur’s office on advancing environmental rights.

    How climate change infringes on human rights

    Climate change is here, and it is impeding the fulfilment of our rights. The right to life is universally recognized as a fundamental human right, yet, every year, 150,000 premature deaths are being linked to the climate crisis—a number set to increase with rising temperatures.

    Climate-related deaths are caused by extreme weather events, heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires, water-borne and vector-borne diseases, malnutrition and air pollution. The climate crisis threatens the right to water and sanitation, contributing to water crises like the one in Bolivia, where glaciers are receding, and water rationing has been required in major cities. At 2°C, 100 million more people are forecasted to face water insecurity.

    The climate emergency also violates the right to health, not only through premature deaths, but also through increased incidences of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, malnutrition, stunting, wasting, allergies, injuries and mental illness. For example, dengue fever is the most rapidly spreading vector-borne disease, with a thirtyfold increase in global incidence that is largely attributable to climate change. According to the Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change, the climate crisis is the biggest global health threat of the twenty-first century and could reverse five decades of progress in global health, particularly as it endangers the right to food.

    “Climate variability and extremes are among the key drivers behind the recent uptick in global hunger and one of the leading causes of severe food crises. The cumulative effect of changes in climate is undermining all dimensions of food security—food availability, access, utilization and stability,” says the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in its 2018 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World.

    Entire communities, such as Vunidogoloa, Fiji, have been or are in the process of being relocated owing to rising sea levels, coastal erosion, storm surges, salinization and other climate impacts. It is estimated that by 2050, 150 million people or more could be displaced by the impacts of the climate crisis. Over a longer timeframe, entire states are at risk of becoming uninhabitable, including Kiribati, Maldives and Tuvalu. This displacement is threatening the right to a healthy environment.

    Using human rights approaches to inform climate change policies

    The right to a healthy environment is recognized in law by at least 155 Member States. The failure of states to take adequate steps to address climate change may constitute a violation of the right to a healthy environment, as several courts have recognized.

    As detailed in the Safe Climate report, governments have an obligation to take effective measures to mitigate climate change, enhance the adaptive capacity of vulnerable populations and prevent foreseeable loss of life. This includes preventing the potential violation of rights by third parties, especially businesses, as well as establishing, implementing and enforcing laws, policies and programmes to fulfil their citizens’ rights.

    Importantly, the Special Rapporteur calls on wealthy states to contribute their fair share towards the cost of mitigation and adaptation in low-income countries—as countries are not equally responsible—nor affected—by the climate crisis.

    Meanwhile, in his report he also identifies that, as a first step, corporations should comply with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as they pertain to human rights and climate change. Businesses should adopt human rights policies, conduct human rights due diligence, remedy human rights violations for which they are directly responsible, and work to influence other actors to respect human rights.

    Applying a rights-based approach clarifies the obligations of governments and businesses, catalyses ambitious action, highlights the plight of the poorest and most vulnerable, and empowers people to become involved in designing and implementing solutions.

    The human rights obligations related to climate change have been explored by various organizations, including international courts, governments and United Nations human rights bodies. These aforementioned experts, which include David Boyd, have reached two common conclusions: first, climate change and its impacts threaten a broad range of human rights, and second, as a result, states and private actors have extensive human rights obligations and responsibilities.

    (Source : UN environment)

    Link : https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/human-rights-are-threat-climate-change-can-also-provide-solutions

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