Windhoek — The Namibian government, through the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Erkki Nghimtina, registered and deposited the Instrument of Ratification of the Forced Labour Protocol on November 6, 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Forced Labour Protocol (No. 29) was adopted in 2014 by the International Labour Conference in order to address gaps in the implementation of the Forced Labour Convention. The protocol gives hope to the global fight against all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in people and slavery.
The protocol, if ratified, is a legally binding instrument that requires member states to take measures to suppress forced labour. It established the obligations to prevent forced labour, protect victims and provide them with access to remedies.
According to acting permanent secretary in the labour ministry, Vilbard Usiku, the regulatory supervisory machinery of the ILO will only come into force 12 months from the date of notification of the ratification. "Therefore, Namibia has to develop a national policy and plan of action in consultation with employer and worker organisations and other groups concerned, such as civil society. The policy and plan of action will show the roadmap for implementing the protocol and it should include effective measures that will assist in suppressing forced labour in Namibia," said Usiku.
He added that the protocol will require other state agencies to join hands in combating forced labour in the country.