Lee Swepston

Lee Swepston's Publications
Human Rights at Work Home Page

Human Rights at Work

Lee St. Clair Swepston, III
Curriculum Vitae

Born: 5 July 1947, Annapolis, Maryland, United States of America

Civil Status: Married

Citizenship: USA

Languages: English, French, Spanish - some German, Italian and Portuguese


1, rte. de Prévessin
01210 Ferney-Voltaire

Telephone: (0033) 450.40.44.57
Mobile: (0033) 621.50.34.35
E-mail: lswepston@gmail.com


1965 - 1969: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA) - Bachelor of Arts in English literature

1969 - 1972: Law School of Columbia University, New York, New York (USA) - Juris doctor

Work experience

1972 - 1973: Legal Officer, International Commission of Jurists (a human rights non-governmental organization), Geneva, Switzerland

1973 - 2007: International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 1981 - 1985: Regional Adviser on International Labour Standards for English-speaking Africa
  • 1987 - 1991: Assistant to Director of the International Labour Standards Department
  • 1991: Appointed Human Rights Coordinator
  • 1993: Appointed Chief of the Equality Branch, promoted to D.1.
  • 2004: Appointed Director, Department of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and Senior Adviser on Human Rights
  • 2007: Retired from ILO, became consultant.

Major representational responsibilities at ILO
  • Representing ILO for relations with other international organizations as concerns human rights, including representation before UN treaty bodies, 1993 - 2007
  • Chief of ILO delegation at the Commission on Human Rights, 1993 - 2005, and at the Human Rights Council, 2006 - 2007
  • Director-General's representative, annual sessions of the Independent Expert-Advisers on the Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, 2006 and 2007
  • Deputy Representative of Director-General, Committee on the Application of Standards, International Labour Conference 2000 - 2005
  • Deputy Representative of Director-General, Committee on the Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, International Labour Conference 1998
  • Deputy Representative of the Director-General, Committee on the Capacity of Members, International Labour Conference 2007
  • Responsible for adoption of the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169), and for its supervision 1990 - 2005
  • Chief of ILO delegations at the World Conference on Human Rights, 1993 and the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, 2001
  • Responsible for adoption of the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169), and for its supervision 1990 - 2005
  • Presented testimony on ILO standards to committees of the Russian Duma and the Iranian Majlis
  • Testimony to Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, European Parliament, 2004 and 2006
  • Represented the ILO at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 2001 - 2007
  • Responsible for ILO coordination of Regional technical cooperation project with the Asian Development Bank, 2001 - 2002, and principal ILO author of Core Labor Standards Handbook, ADB and ILO, 2006
  • Member of Scientific Committee for World Forum of Human Rights, 2004 and 2006 (Nantes, France)
  • Member of ILO missions to prepare annual Director-General's reports on The Situation of Workers in the Occupied Arab Territories, 1993 - 2005
  • Led ILO mission to explore return of South Africa to the ILO, 1993


  • Masters Degree in International Human Rights and International Labour Law, Raoul Wallenberg Institute and Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden, since 2006 (created and taught) - appointed as Visiting Professor
    See generally the web site of the Institute at http://www.rwi.lu.se/index.shtml
  • International Training Centre of the ILO, Turin, Italy: At regular intervals since about 1990 - courses on ILO standards, human rights, equality, impact of globalization on workers' rights, indigenous and tribal peoples, judges' training in international labour rights
  • Regular lectures to visiting students at the ILO, 1980 - 2007
  • Guest Lecturer on ILO, human rights and economic, social and cultural rights at (inter alia):
    - Columbia University Law School, New York
    - Harvard Law School, Boston
    - Cornell University, New York
    - Lund University, Lund, Sweden
    - University of Beijing, China
    - Wuhan University, China
    - International Institute of Human Rights, Strasbourg
    - Political Science Faculty, University of Paris
    - University of Heidelberg
    - University of Western Ontario
    - University of Toronto
    - York University, Toronto
    - Tilburg University, the Netherlands

Participation in recent conferences

  • Economic Globalization, Global Justice and CSR, hosted by EconomEtica (Centro interuniversitario per l'etica economica e la responsabilità sociale di impresa), Milan, 20 April 2007, "Key speaker" in session on Human Rights in the Economic Sphere: international law, social clauses and CSR standards
    See http://www.econometica.it/
  • Human Rights, Indigenous Rights and the Extractive Industry Workshop, hosted by IPIECA (International Petroleum Industry Environment Conservation Association), Calgary, Canada, 28 June 2007
  • Workshop on UN Treaty Body Reform, University of Mannheim and Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Berlin, May 2007
  • IPU, ILO, OHCHR seminar on Migration: the human rights perspective, Seminar for members of parliamentary committees working on human rights and other committees addressing migration issues, Geneva, 24 - 26 October 2007. Presented The international legal framework - Human rights law and labour conventions
    Report available at http://www.ipu.org/splz-e/hrbodies07.htm
  • The Charter and Human Rights at Work: 25 Years Later, University of Western Ontario, October 2007, invited speaker on international labour law (proceedings being prepared for publication)
    See http://www.law.uwo.ca/conferences/program.html.
  • Workers' Rights, Human Rights: Making the Connection, 16 and 17 November 2007, Centre for Research on Work and Society, York University, Toronto - Keynote address on workers' rights as human rights and responsibilities of business
  • Freedom of Association: Harmonizing Canadian Norms with International Commitments, Saskatoon, 25 - 27 February, 2010 - opening speaker
    See http://www.usask.ca/law/sallows

Current Activities

  • Consultant to Government of Taiwan on International Labour Standards, and adviser to International Labour and Development Research Centre, Kainan University, Taiwan (since 2008)
  • Adviser to the International Labour Office for adoption and follow-up of a new international instrument on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work, International Labour Conference, Geneva, adopted June 2010
  • Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission, member since 2008. Represented Commission at Universal Periodic Review of Bangladesh, United Nations Human Rights Council, February 2009
  • Chairperson, Standards Committee of Goodweave (Rugmark), to adopt updated standards on child labour in rug making, 2010
    See http://www.goodweave.net
  • Guidance for oil and gas industry on indigenous and tribal peoples, Social Responsibility Working Group, International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) (publication envisaged 2010)
  • Consultant to the International Labour Office for a draft Decent Work Country Programme for the United Arab Emirates, 2009
  • Drafting Handbook for Members of Parliament on Human Rights and Migration, for the Inter-Parliamentary Union, International Labour Office and Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2009)

Back to:
Top of the page
Lee Swepston's Publications
Human Rights at Work Home Page


This page is maintained by Paula Swepston©
Last modified on 5 August 2010
Please let us know if you encounter broken links.
Reproduction by permission, please.