Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. State Department

The U.S. State Department released their annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on March 12.  It includes a section for each country on forced labor.

U.S. law requires annual reporting to Congress on the status of internationally recognized worker rights in countries that are eligible to receive benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).  The law defines internationally recognized worker rights to include:  “(A) the right of association; (B) the right to organize and bargain collectively; (C) a prohibition on the use of any form of forced or compulsory labor; (D) a minimum age for the employment of children, and a prohibition on worst forms of child labor; and (E) acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health.”  19 U.S.C. § 2464, 2467.  In addition to these rights, several U.S. free trade agreements have also included the “elimination of discrimination in respect of employment or occupation” in their definition of internationally recognized worker rights.

The International Labor Organization (ILO), in its 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, sets forth these principles and rights at work as follows:  freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor; the effective abolition of child labor; and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Read appendix B for more information on the worker rights section and the country reports here.