Inequality and social justice on the agenda of talks between ILO Director-General and Brazil’s President

On his first official visit to the Latin America and Caribbean region, ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo and Brazil’s President Lula discussed the ILO’s Global Coalition for Social Justice initiative.

News | 21 April 2023
Photo album of the ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo with Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva - © Ricardo Stuckert/PR Brazil
BRASILIA (ILO News) – The ILO’s Global Coalition for Social Justice initiative was centre stage at talks between the Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo, during his two-day visit to the country.

Both expressed concerns about inequalities around the globe and its impact on working people – an issue at the heart of the proposed Coalition, which aims to elevate the political debate on social justice to address the challenges affecting the world of work.

“My ambition is that five years from now, debate around social justice will be as climate change, human rights and end of discrimination is today. We need to integrate all dimensions of social justice into policy,” said Houngbo.

President Lula said that Brazil’s contribution at the international level should be anchored by authoritative national policies to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty and promote employment.

During his visit, the Director-General met with Brazil’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Luiz Marinho, and Wellington Dias, Minister of Social Development and Assistance, Family and Fight Against Hunger (MDS).

They discussed several issues including working conditions, child labour and forced labour, decent work in the platform economy and South-South cooperation.

During the meeting, Mr Houngbo also acknowledged and thanked Brazil for advancing Decent Work through South-South and Triangular Cooperation. Since the Brazil – ILO programme started in 2009, 35 countries in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean have benefited from Brazil’s cooperation.

Houngbo also talked to representatives of the six main trade unions and the five main employers' confederations in Brazil. Their discussions touched on social dialogue, labour legislation and informality among others.

In addition, the ILO Director General met with the President of the Brazilian Labour Supreme Court (TST), Minister Lelio Bentes and Ministers of the Labour Court, to discuss Brazil’s efforts to eradicate forced and child labour and the importance of social protection.

In a meeting with the Brazilian Prosecutor General Labour, José de Lima Ramos Pereira, and senior prosecutor of the Labour Prosecution Service (MPT), the Director-General highlighted the MPT’s importance in enforcing the implementation of labour laws and ILO Conventions. The MPT’s support for joint ILO initiatives on decent work in supply chains, social inclusive production, equality and opportunities for vulnerable groups, was also raised.

In a conversation with United Nations Resident Coordinator in Brazil, Silvia Rucks, Houngbo was briefed on the application of the UN Framework for Cooperation on Sustainable Development in the country.

Houngbo’s visit to Brasilia coincided with the start of celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the ILO presence in Brazil – one of the founding members of the ILO and the first Latin American country to host an ILO field office.