Call for stronger protection for rights of staff in international organisations

“International civil service law is not codified and employment disputes are dealt with in accordance with the rules governing international organisations (IOs), and not with national law. However, the jurisdictional immunity of IOs should not be allowed to cover abuses of the European Convention on Human Rights”, pointed out Volker Ullrich (Germany, EPP/CD), in his report adopted on 11 October by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.

The report adopted emphasises that jurisdictional immunity should not create an area outside the rule of law and that staff members of IOs should not be deprived of the right to a fair trial and access to courts enjoyed by those subject to national labour law rules. “This is particularly necessary in cases involving significant psychological suffering, such as cases of harassment or discrimination at work, as the arbitration or mediation mechanisms in place in the majority of IOs do not provide appropriate legal protection to the victims”, added Mr Ullrich in his report.

In adopting a draft resolution, the committee calls on IOs, in particular, to introduce “reasonable alternative means of protecting” the rights of staff, to ensure that these means of redress are also available to trade unions and to introduce procedures for lodging appeals against decisions of internal tribunals.