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Launch of #OurHands: a new social media campaign to protect domestic workers worldwide

16 June 2015 - Christian Aid, Migrant Forum Asia and domestic workers rights organisations from around the world join together to launch #OurHands campaign, a new social media campaign to raise domestic workers’ awareness about of their rights.

The launch takes place today (16 June), International Domestic Workers Day, which this year celebrates the fourth anniversary of the adoption of International Labour Organisation’s convention 189 concerning Decent Work for Domestic workers.

Agnes Matienzo of Migrant Forum Asia said: “Domestic workers are workers, just like any other worker — they deserve to have their rights respected and protected.  This exciting campaign is designed to use social media to educate and inform domestic workers around the world about their rights.

“Everyone is invited to participate in this campaign. Whether you are a domestic worker, an organisation that works on worker rights issues, a student or academic writing about domestic worker issues, a faith-based organisation interested in working on outreach, a journalist, or a policy-maker — all are welcome to engage with us on social media as we join #OurHands to spread the word about domestic worker rights!

“We aim to create an empowering environment for domestic workers to articulate their rights, organise themselves, negotiate their terms of employment, and discuss issues that concern them.

“Raising awareness is a crucial step in enabling domestic workers to work together to ensure that their rights are protected and upheld.

“We look forward to working with governments and employers, and standing alongside domestic workers to ensure that their rights are protected; that domestic work is seen as work; and domestic workers are treated as workers entitled to rights like any other worker.”

There are approximately 53 million domestic workers worldwide; many are migrant workers and most are women. They carry out essential work, providing care for children and elderly people, and supporting the households of their employers as well as their own families.

Many countries, however, fail to protect their labour and human rights. Instead, such workers are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, with their work hard to regulate as it takes place in private households.  In some countries, including the UK, their visa is tied to their employment, which means they cannot leave an abusive employer easily.

Although the domestic workers convention was introduced four years ago, it has only been ratified by 20 countries.  The campaign calls for governments to make a strong political commitment to not only ratify the convention but also to implement its provisions into their national labour legislation.

These include allowing domestic workers to form and join trade unions and to be included in national labour laws, as well as providing human and financial resources to enable domestic workers organisations and support groups to advocate effectively.

Christian Aid is working with local partner organisations around the world to put pressure on governments and employers to apply the standards set out in the ILO Convention to ensure that domestic workers' rights are recognised and upheld.

You can find out more about the campaign and join #Ourhands via its website and social media platforms: www.DWRights.org, Facebook page (facebook.com/DomesticWorkerRights), and Twitter feed: twitter.com/dw_rights

#OurHands is part of Migrant Forum in Asia and Christian Aid’s In Their Lifetime project, a three-year advocacy programme that aims to put domestic workers at the centre of work to ratify ILO convention C189 in the Middle East and to be in the forefront of policy and practice change.  It is endorsed by over 40 domestic worker organisations around the world.

If you would like further information please contact Johanna Rogers on jrogers@christian-aid.org  or 020 7523 2460 or 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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