Fifty years ago, when the First World War was drawing to a close, not only was peace sought after, but the world wanted a durable peace. The Peace Treaty signed in Versailles on 28th June, 1919, set up the League of Nations whose essen­tial purpose was to avoid future conflicts. But it had already been understood that universal and lasting peace "can be established only if it is based upon social justice." The International Labour Organisation was, therefore, ushered into exis­tence alongwlth the League of Nations and char­ged with the responsibility of organising inter­national collaboration for the study of labour problems and for the adoption of international standards of workers' protection.

The ILO which observes its 50th Anniversary this year, was established in 1919 to promote social justice and improve working and living conditions throughout the world. Most of the Asian coun­tries arc now members of the ILO. With the increase in the number of Asian countries joining the ILO over the years, the Organisation's con­cern with Asia has grown considerably. The opening of the Asian regional office in 1966, is further evidence of this growing concern.

For years after it came into being, the ILO remained an institution for standard-setting and a clearing house of information on labour matters; but in later years, there was a gradual shift in the Organisation's work from standard-setting to operational activities. ILO is wedded to the policy of bringing governments, employers and trade unions together for united action in the cause of social justice and higher living standards everywhere.   It is an intcr-governmental agency, but the tripartite principle applies to all its coun­cils. The membership of the Organisation stands, at present, at 118, as against 45 originally.

The aims and purposes of the ILO are based on the Declaration of Philadelphia adopted in 1944. The Declaration of Philadelphia is a reaffirmation of the principles on which the Organisation was originally based and declares that "labour is not a commodity; that freedom of expression and of asso­ciation are essential to sustain progress; that poverty anywhere constitutes a danger to pros­perity everywhere and that the war against want requires to be carried on with unrelenting vigour within each nation and by continuous and con­certed international effort in which the represen­tatives of workers and employers, enjoying equal status with those of Governments, join with them in free discussion and democratic decision for the promotion of common welfare." It also asserts primacy of the social objective of international policy, i.e., "the attainment of conditions in which all human beings irrespective of race, creed or sex have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in condi­tions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity."

The year 1969 will be a memorable one for India which has been a founder-member of the ILO since its inception and for the other Asian countries, as the year will sec initiation by the ILO of a World Employment Programme and as part of this programme, the ILO is committed to a massive undertaking to help in the formation of the Asian Man-power Plan, which will develop the regions' human resources and co-ordinate national plans in an integrated regional whole. The framework of the Plan when approved by the Asian Advisory Committee at Singapore in 1 1966 was hailed as "dynamic and positive con­cept."

The International Labour Organisation is cele­brating its 50th anniversary this year and it is a happy coincidence that the celebrations fall in the Gandhi Centenary Year. Gandhiji's views on social justice, equality of opportunities and dignity of labour and the sanctity of human rights are well known.

The Posts and Telegraphs Department is happy to bring out a special postage stamp to comme­morate the 50th anniversary of this great world organisation whose activities are of great signi­ficance to India and other Asian countries.


Overseas orders, if placed with the P and T Department for the supply of the new stamps and First Day Covers should be addressed to the Indian Philatelic Bureau, G.P.O. Bombay and be accom­panied by a bank draft or crossed cheque encashable in India.

This list was prepared by Dr. Jinadatha

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