WHERE: Interfax News Agency, 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya St., 2, Mayakovskaya metro station

WHEN: Thursday, 29 May, 11:00



The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mr. Leandro Despouy, who visited the Russian Federation from 19 to 29 May 2008, at the invitation of the Government, will present the outcomes of his visit at a press conference on 29 May.


The Special Rapporteur examined the progress made to date in the country in the implementation of judicial reforms and the protection of human rights through the court system. Among the main issues, the Special Rapporteur studied the independence of judges, prosecutors and lawyers; their professional training; the level of access of the population to, and equality in, the justice system; and respect of fair trial guarantees. During the mission, the Special Rapporteur visited Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Yekaterinburg to meet with a number of high-ranking government officials, judges from various levels of courts, representatives of the office of the Prosecutor General, judicial and bar associations, national human rights institutions, academics, international and non-governmental organizations.


The Special Rapporteur will present his findings and recommendations to the Government and will submit a report to the Human Rights Council.




Mr. Despouy, President of the Auditoría-General of Argentina, which audits the country's public service, was appointed Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers in September 2003. He has extensive experience in human rights and international humanitarian law and has held a number of high-level positions in the United Nations and the Government of Argentina.


For accreditation please refer to Interfax News Agency at 250 88 32 till 10:00 on 29 May

In his keynote address to the 97th International Labour Conference taking place here, Mr. Somavia said “The ILO has a unique opportunity to play a central role in an emerging system of global governance combining financial stability, investment for development with fair trade and decent work”.



Mr. Somavia also addressed the current financial situation, saying “We have heard much about the subprime financial crisis. But there is also what I would call a crisis of ‘subprime work’– substandard and vulnerable jobs – without fundamental rights, without basic security, without the prospects for mobility and dignity”.


“We need a new policy balance based on the mutually reinforcing role of the public policy functions of the State, the productive dynamism of the market, the democratic voice of society and the needs and choices of individuals, families and communities”, Mr. Somavia said. “Many tell us they find that balance in the Decent Work Agenda and a fair globalization.”


Mr. Somavia said “a globalization without social justice” is “generating growth without enough quality jobs, with rising informality … a steady increase in productivity, but not in wages … advances in combating extreme poverty, but deepening inequality.”


He also cited the danger in the “threat of rising inflation, economic slowdown, even recession and unemployment” and the food price crisis that is “battering family budgets and poor workers in particular and also government finances”.


“Counter measures are urgent”, he said. “Governments must come together to address these risks to working families.”


“Building on the Millennium Development Goals, the time has come to develop together the notion of a comprehensive social floor, to prevent people from falling into destitution; to help them overcome poverty and move up the ladder of opportunity”, he added.


Mr. Somavia also referred to other key areas of responsibility for ILO policymaking, including the need to continue to nurture sustainable enterprises. “On the basis of what we have already done, I believe we can launch a major productivity and decent work initiative for the promotion and development of medium, small and microenterprises.”


He also urged fully deploying the ILO green jobs initiative, adding, “Climate change and environmental pressures will involve significant adaptation for enterprises and workers”.


Regarding rights at work, Mr. Somavia noted that this year marks the 60th anniversary of ILO Convention No. 87 on freedom of association and said “standard setting is the utmost expression of tripartite dialogue charting the way ahead. During the last 10 years, we have achieved a 50 per cent increase in ratifications of the eight Conventions that underpin the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work – forced labour, child labour, discrimination and freedom of association and collective bargaining. Universal ratification is within reach. And I have proposed to you in my report to go for it by 2015”.


Mr. Somavia said that, due to its unique tripartite structure, the ILO has the opportunity to build on common achievements.


“We can help change the lives of the unprotected: 80 percent of the world’s population. We can significantly expand employment opportunities for the 3 billion people living in poverty. We can help move to a jobs-intensive and sustainable growth pattern. We can consolidate respect for rights and dialogue as a productive road to peace”, he said.