Together ILO and Viet Nam to celebrate proud history of fighting for social justice

By ILO Viet Nam Director Chang-Hee Lee

Comment | 30 January 2019
The year 2019 is special to both ILO and Viet Nam.

ILO was created at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 immediately after the 1st World War based on a shared belief, as written in the Preamble to the ILO’s Constitution, that “universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice”.

Nguyen Ai Quoc appealed to the delegations of the same Paris Peace Conference, with a list of claims for basic rights – human, social, economic and political rights – of Annamese people. Among other things, he demanded right to freedom of association, and also, amazingly, right to education, demanding the establishment of vocational and occupational schools for Vietnamese people. It resonates strongly with the Preamble to the ILO Constitution, which also calls for “recognition of principle of freedom of association, the organization of vocational and technical education”.

Future President of the independent Viet Nam had the same dream as the founders of the ILO. The list of claims written by the future President Ho Chi Minh is the start of modern labour and social policies in Viet Nam. ILO and modern Viet Nam took their first steps together 100 years ago.

ILO Viet Nam plans to celebrate its centenary on the occasion of Ho Chi Minh’s birth day in May together with our tripartite partners (Government, workers’ and employers’ organizations) and political leaders of the country. We also expect to organize a high-level conference on Future of Work, which looks at the impacts and implications of technological changes and economic integration on the world of work in Viet Nam, following the footstep of the ILO’s global Future of Work report released on this past 22 January. ILO also plans to join the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour to celebrate its 90th anniversary.

Deeper global integration and rapid modernization of Viet Nam’s economy creates opportunities for workers, businesses and society. But it poses new level of challenges for ensuring decent work for all in an integrated world.

ILO will continue to work with our partners to support Viet Nam to modernize its labour laws in line with ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work as well as ILO core conventions. We will also keep working with tripartite partners in expanding social protection for all, creating the environment for sustainable enterprise development with higher productivity and better working conditions, while addressing challenges of green jobs to respond to the climate change.

I look forward to this important year and cannot wait to see the relation between Viet Nam and the ILO reach an unprecedented level of cooperation for the joint cause of social justice and decent work for all.