Who we are
ICTUR is an international NGO that brings together a global network of expertise on international law, trade union rights, human rights, and industrial relations.
ICTUR’s membership includes trade unions, human rights organisations, research institutes and lawyers’ associations around the world. Worldwide, more than 50 national level organisations are affiliated to ICTUR.
ICTUR is a non-governmental organisation (‘NGO’) that has accredited status with the UN ECOSOC and the ILO Special List of INGOs. It aims:
• To defend and extend the rights of trade unions and trade unionists worldwide;
• To collect information and increase awareness of trade union rights and their violations;
• To carry out its activities in the spirit of the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organisation Conventions and appropriate international treaties.
The Centre’s main strength is its legal and technical expertise on international trade union rights.
ICTUR's main activities include research, advice, legal assistance, trial observations, advocacy, and awareness raising. The links at the top of these pages provide access to examples of these activities and more information about this work, such as our production of educational materials and the journal International Union Rights.
ICTUR is also continuously monitoring trade union rights worldwide and reporting on and responding to violations of these rights.
While ICTUR's main focus is on labour law and the rights to form and join trade unions and to carry out trade union activities, our work also involves defending the human rights of trade unionists and working with trade unions to address human rights problems.
While ICTUR usually works closely with trade unions, the organisation reserves its independence, defines its own programme of activities, and takes up cases according to its own analysis.
An ICTUR paper written in the 1990s summed up the organisation’s ethos and the rationale for its existence: ‘wherever unions are unable or unwilling to promote and protect workers’ fundamental human rights, there is a need for an independent NGO that focuses on the special issues faced by unions and workers’. That paper outlined the view that ICTUR should be a ‘friend’ to the international union movement but also its ‘fair critic’.
ICTUR has won acclaim for its work on trade union rights generally, for its publications and trial observations, and in specific campaigns around Colombia and Turkey. And in 2009-2011 ICTUR worked with Unite the Union on a successful campaign to address the plight of Moroccan community in Gibraltar who had been denied citizenship and associated rights for decades.
ICTUR was formed in 1987. More on our history is available here.
ICTUR has two constitutional supervisory bodies, the Executive Committee and the Administrative Council.
The Administrative Council is a consultative body to ICTUR.
The Administrative Council provides a forum in which ICTUR can present its work and proposals for action and in which key priority cases and issues are debated and examined.
The Administrative Council is ICTUR's most important and high-profile annual meeting. By convention it is held each year in Geneva in June, though in 2015 it was held in London at the offices of Amnesty International.
The meeting is usually attended by lawyers and academics as well as national trade union representatives and representatives of typically several international and regional trade unions, including often representatives of the ITUC and Global Union Federations.
Each year the Council meeting receives and comments on ICTUR's annual report and future plans, and hears speakers or holds a discussion on a key current topic.