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Abandon All Labour Rights, Ye Who Enter Here: The Labour Rights of Prisoners

Nilsson, Linus LU (2017) LAGM01 20171
Department of Law
Abstract
Prisoners are somewhat overlooked in international law. There is no binding global instrument regarding their treatment. Regulations are left to the national legislators, though there are a few regional instruments concerning prisoners. Prisoners are often required to work during their prison sentence, but the conditions of work are neglected in national law. The ILO, which is the UN agency responsible for the labour rights, is responsible for offering guidance on what labour rights and freedoms that prisoners can expect when in prison. For this thesis, only the fundamental principles and rights that are acknowledged in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work from 1998 will be used, even if some comparison will be... (More)
Prisoners are somewhat overlooked in international law. There is no binding global instrument regarding their treatment. Regulations are left to the national legislators, though there are a few regional instruments concerning prisoners. Prisoners are often required to work during their prison sentence, but the conditions of work are neglected in national law. The ILO, which is the UN agency responsible for the labour rights, is responsible for offering guidance on what labour rights and freedoms that prisoners can expect when in prison. For this thesis, only the fundamental principles and rights that are acknowledged in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work from 1998 will be used, even if some comparison will be made to other international human rights instruments.
The examination of these instruments shows that prisoners are seldom mentioned, and when they are mentioned, it is to exclude them. This does not make prisoners unprotected, however, since the fundamental principles and rights at work do not list the categories of workers that are covered, but rather lists which categories that are excluded from the protection provided. That prisoners are not mentioned can only be understood as that they are covered by the protection.
This conclusion entails that many states all over the world are in breach of the fundamental principles and rights at work, since it is very rare that any state allows prisoners to form trade unions, for example. The only known example of this is Germany. Finding that states are breaching the fundamental principles and rights at work is not enough, the ILO conventions also need to be enforced, which is the responsibility of the ILO. The only instance where the ILO has found breaches concerning prisoners is regarding forced labour in private prisons. There is therefore much work left to be done. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Fångar är förbisedda i folkrätten. Det finns inget bindande instrument med global tillämpning som reglerar hur de ska behandlas. Ansvaret lämnas till den nationella lagstiftaren, även om det finns ett par regionala instrument som reglerar fångars situation. Fångar förväntas ofta arbeta under sitt fängelsestraff, men arbetsvillkoren är försummade i den nationella arbetsrättsliga lagstiftningen. Riktlinjer för hur fångars arbetsrättsliga rättigheter och friheter ska utformas finns hos den Internationella Arbetsorganisationen (International Labour Organisation, ILO), det FN-organ som ansvarar för arbetsrätt. Denna uppsats behandlar främst de fundamentala principer och rättigheter som återfinns i ILO:s deklaration om de fundamentala... (More)
Fångar är förbisedda i folkrätten. Det finns inget bindande instrument med global tillämpning som reglerar hur de ska behandlas. Ansvaret lämnas till den nationella lagstiftaren, även om det finns ett par regionala instrument som reglerar fångars situation. Fångar förväntas ofta arbeta under sitt fängelsestraff, men arbetsvillkoren är försummade i den nationella arbetsrättsliga lagstiftningen. Riktlinjer för hur fångars arbetsrättsliga rättigheter och friheter ska utformas finns hos den Internationella Arbetsorganisationen (International Labour Organisation, ILO), det FN-organ som ansvarar för arbetsrätt. Denna uppsats behandlar främst de fundamentala principer och rättigheter som återfinns i ILO:s deklaration om de fundamentala principerna och rättigheterna i arbete från 1998, men en del jämförelser görs med andra människorättsinstrument.
I utredningen av vad dessa instrument erbjuder fångar för arbetsrättsligt skydd, visas att fångar sällan är omnämnda, eller om de är det, så är det för att exkludera dem från instrumentets tillämpningsområde. Detta lämnar dock inte fångar helt utan skydd, eftersom ILO:s fundamentala principer och rättigheter inte undantar fångar från sitt tillämpningsområde. Eftersom fångar inte är undantagna kan det bara förstås som att även de är skyddade.
Denna slutsats innebär att stater världen över bryter mot de fundamentala principerna och rättigheterna i arbetet, eftersom det är ovanligt att fångar exempelvis tillåts bilda fackföreningar. Det enda kända exemplet där det tillåts är Tyskland. Det är dock inte tillräckligt att konstatera att stater bryter mot de fundamentala principerna och rättigheterna, även ILO:s konventioner måste upprätthållas, vilket är ILO:s ansvar. Den enda gången ILO har agerat för fångars rättigheter är gällande deras situation i privata fängelser, då ILO funnit att stater brutit mot konventioner gällande tvångsarbete. Det återstår därför mycket arbete på detta område. (Less)
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author
Nilsson, Linus LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGM01 20171
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
labour law, public international law, Prisoners, Prison, International Labour Organisation, ILO, Human Rights, Human Rights Law
language
English
id
8908621
date added to LUP
2017-06-09 15:14:41
date last changed
2017-06-09 15:14:41
@misc{8908621,
  abstract     = {Prisoners are somewhat overlooked in international law. There is no binding global instrument regarding their treatment. Regulations are left to the national legislators, though there are a few regional instruments concerning prisoners. Prisoners are often required to work during their prison sentence, but the conditions of work are neglected in national law. The ILO, which is the UN agency responsible for the labour rights, is responsible for offering guidance on what labour rights and freedoms that prisoners can expect when in prison. For this thesis, only the fundamental principles and rights that are acknowledged in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work from 1998 will be used, even if some comparison will be made to other international human rights instruments. 
The examination of these instruments shows that prisoners are seldom mentioned, and when they are mentioned, it is to exclude them. This does not make prisoners unprotected, however, since the fundamental principles and rights at work do not list the categories of workers that are covered, but rather lists which categories that are excluded from the protection provided. That prisoners are not mentioned can only be understood as that they are covered by the protection. 
This conclusion entails that many states all over the world are in breach of the fundamental principles and rights at work, since it is very rare that any state allows prisoners to form trade unions, for example. The only known example of this is Germany. Finding that states are breaching the fundamental principles and rights at work is not enough, the ILO conventions also need to be enforced, which is the responsibility of the ILO. The only instance where the ILO has found breaches concerning prisoners is regarding forced labour in private prisons. There is therefore much work left to be done.},
  author       = {Nilsson, Linus},
  keyword      = {labour law,public international law,Prisoners,Prison,International Labour Organisation,ILO,Human Rights,Human Rights Law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Abandon All Labour Rights, Ye Who Enter Here: The Labour Rights of Prisoners},
  year         = {2017},
}