News / Africa

ILO: Social Protection a Human Right

Women march with their children to demand longer maternity leave, San Jose, Costa Rica, Jan. 18, 2013.
Women march with their children to demand longer maternity leave, San Jose, Costa Rica, Jan. 18, 2013.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on ILO and social protection

Joe DeCapua
A new report says while the need for social protections is widely recognized, many people around the world don’t have them.

The International Labor Organization says less than 30-percent of the population has guaranteed access to such things as health care or unemployment safeguards.
 
Listen to De Capua report on ILO and social protection
Listen to De Capua report on ILO and social protectioni
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

The ILO has released its World Social Protection Report: Building economic recovery, inclusive development and social justice. It says that “social protection policies play a critical role…reducing poverty and inequality… and boosting human capital and productivity.”
 
Christina Behrendt, an ILO senior protection policy specialist, said, “By social protection we mean a broad range of policies that aim at providing people with social security, which is a human right – starting from child and family benefits, unemployment protection, benefits for people with disabilities, maternity benefits, old age pensions, access to health care. So it’s a very, very broad range of benefits.”
 
The ILO report said inadequate or a lack of social protections “is associated with high and persistent levels of poverty…and growing levels of inequality.”
 
Share of Unemployed People Receiving BenefitsShare of Unemployed People Receiving Benefits


“They’re basically important in countries al all levels of development because this is really a way for the countries to make sure that the resources in the countries are distributed in a just way. That everyone is benefitting basically from the proceeds of growth as a way of ensuring inclusive growth. So making sure that the benefits of growth are available to everyone,” Behrendt said.
 
She said such policies are a way for a country to invest in its people. Education is one example of such investment.
 
“Many countries, especially in developing countries and emerging countries recently, have really taken quite bold steps to invest more in social protection, which was not necessarily the case before. They have really taken these steps as a conscious decision because they felt that the lack of social protection constituted an obstacle to development.”
 
She said most countries do have some measures in place, but they usually benefit only a small part of the population. The ILO specialist said some lessons about social protections were learned after the global economic crisis struck in 2008.
 
“Social protections were quite a prominent part in many countries of the fiscal stimulus packages that were introduced. What we did learn is that they actually had a very substantial impact. Actually they had a quite substantial multiplier effect. But especially the cash incomes played a very important role because they were really one way of stimulating the economy,” she said.
 
However, she said that in 2010, many governments decided to impose fiscal consolidation or austerity measures. Behrendt describes the move as premature.
 
“That really kind of stumbled and hindered and reduced the domestic demand, which would have been necessary really to keep up the recovery.”
 
Other lessons, Behrendt said, can be found in the 2013 tragedy in Bangladesh when the eight-story Rana Plaza commercial building collapsed. Over 1,100 people died and more than 2,500 people were injured. And then there was last month’s Soma mine disaster in Turkey in which more than 300 miners were killed.
 
“There are kind of no mechanisms in place that would provide them with at least some kind of ways to make their living after they’ve been hurt or after some of their family members might have died in these accidents.
 
She added that less dramatic accidents happen every day and affect many people.
 
The biggest argument governments use not implement social protections is that they are too expensive.
 
“Many countries say they are too poor, that they don’t have the fiscal resources to implement those measures. But at the same time what we also see in countries -- which actually do embark on implementing those measures and expanding their social protection systems – what we see there is that is also very much a question of political will,” she said.
 
The International Labor Organization report calls for universal health coverage. It says more than 90-percent of the population in low-income countries is “without any right to coverage in health.” But Behrendt said more countries are starting to act.
 
“For example, Thailand within the space of a couple of years was able to achieve universal health coverage. China recently has really taken bold steps to extend health coverage. And, of course, the U.S. also on a very different level has also moved into that direction. And we know that this is really a very important component of any social protection system because the need to have access to health care is really what affects people very immediately.”
 
The ILO also reported a lack of maternity protection. It said that worldwide, less than 40-percent of working women are covered by law under mandatory cash benefit plans. As for children, the report said that about “18,000 die every day, mainly from preventable causes. It says many of those deaths could be avoided with adequate social protections. 
 
The ILO proposes that basic social protections should be part of any post-Millennium Development Goals agenda.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid