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NCFM-LA protests exemption of “able-bodied males” from ban on slavery by International Labour Organization

February 19, 2008
By

On February 19, 2008, NCFM-LA sent the following letter to the International Labour Organization:

VIA CERTIFIED MAIL

February 19, 2008

Mr. Juan Somavia
Director-General
International Labour Organization
Route
des Morillons 4
CH-1211 Geneva 22
SWITZERLAND

Dear Mr. Somavia,

The National Coalition of Free Men (“NCFM”) is a nonprofit organization that looks at the ways sex discrimination affects men and boys. We write to express strong opposition to the exemption of “adult able-bodied males” in Article 11 of the Forced Labour Convention of 1930 (www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/convde.pl?C029) and to request all records and information reflecting the history of this exemption.

On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 2 of the Declaration states “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race . . . sex . . . .” (Emphasis added.) Article 4 states “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” Article 7 states: “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.”

The discrimination against males in Article 11 of the Forced Labour Convention flatly conflicts with the above-mentioned human rights guarantees set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As you are aware, slavery and forced labor are still significant global problems, and the Convention is an active treaty with 172 nations currently signed on. Over 80 percent of forced labor victims are men. (Adam Jones, Ph.D., Gendercide and Genocide.) In some parts of China, male slaves have no protection because only slavery of females is prohibited by law. (“Some human traffickers may walk away in ‘slave’ case,” China Daily, 6/15/07, www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-06/15/content_895414.htm.)

We urge you to amend the Convention to treat men and women equally pursuant to the demands of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also request all information regarding the history of the exemption of men from the ban on forced labor, including any opposition and support for the exemption.

Sincerely,

Marc E. Angelucci, Esq.

President

Cc: ILO Bureau for Gender Equality

ILO Washington DC branch

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