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This Comment will argue that the ILO's Occupational Safety and Health Convention of 1981 and the 2006 Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention create a "duty of care" on the part of nations that extends to business travellers and international assignees. n9 Additionally, this Comment takes the position that given state practice of many ratifying parties and non-ratifying parties, there is an emerging norm under customary international law that all Duty of Care obligations extend to international business travellers and assignees. n10 Moreover, despite [*877] this emerging norm, the practices of some ratifying parties violate this trend, and their obligations under the 1981 and 2006 Conventions by not extending the Duty of Care to workers sent abroad. In particular, this Comment will focus on how China violates its treaty obligations under the 1981 ILO Convention by failing to extend the Duty of Care to workers abroad in some African regions, in particular Nigeria, to safeguard against the risk of kidnapping.


In today's labor markets, routine business travel and employee assignments abroad are common.

  • This global movement presents unique challenges to governments and employers concerning legal and practical matters that arise from unfamiliar risks to employees abroad.
  • These risks include disease, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and kidnappings.
  • Considering these risks, the extent to which governments and employers have a Duty of Care to workers abroad needs examination. 
  • The 1981 and 2006 International Labor Organization Conventions on Occupational Safety and Health mandate that ratifying nations use a preventative approach to occupational safety and health in order to implement measures to ensure a Duty of Care to "all workers" at the national and employer levels.
  • Australia, the United Kingdom, and some European [*876] countries, all ratifying parties to the Conventions, have extended the Duty of Care to international business travellers and assignees through case law and legislation.