The term developing countries first appeared in the middle of the twentieth century, especially after the end of the second world war. At that time, many new countries emerged that gained independence from the colonial rulers who ruled the country. These newly independent nations are called developing countries or third-world countries. The term third world, based on the political and economic policies of the newly independent countries, seeks an ideology that does not identify them with the eastern or western blocks.
In other words, they are trying to find a third way that is neither capitalist nor communist. Both ideologies were rejected because developing countries did not want to be pawns in the conflict between the communist eastern bloc and the western capitalist bloc. Hence, developing countries wanted to build their economies free from outside control.
The concept of developing countries can be studied from two sides. The first is from a political point of view, and the second is from an economic point of view. From a political point of view, developing countries are members of non-aligned countries located in Asia, Africa, Latin America and several European countries. Meanwhile, from an economic point of view, until now, there has been no standard view on the term developing countries among economists.
Apart from this view, according to H. Gros Espiel, among the third-world groups, there are three groups. The first group is influenced by the concept of Marxist socialism. The second group is influenced by the western group. And the third group consists of countries that apply a separate idea of association rights because of their philosophy of life, ideology and historical background.
The philosophical basis of the freedom of association mainly focuses on some fundamental issues that are continuously debated. Namely, whether human rights are moral rights or legal rights. Whether these rights should be limited to civil and political life or also included in social, economic and cultural life. These things are closely related to the concept adopted by developing countries, including the right of association.
For developing countries, freedom of association issues is always related to issues of democracy and development. The connecting point lies in the diversity of government systems in developing countries, from democratic to authoritarian. There are two important reasons why freedom of association has always been linked to development in developing countries.
First, most developing countries have agreed to the 1986 UN declaration on development rights. In the declaration, development rights are defined; as non-transferable rights. Because every individual has the right to participate, contribute and enjoy development in the economic, social, cultural and political fields. Where all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully implemented.
Second, linking the right of association to the decision-making process by developed countries as a condition of providing assistance to developing countries. This has invited many objections because it is considered a form of forcing neocolonialism from western values on developing countries. The argument that is often made by developing country governments as policymakers is that the interests of community rights groups are of higher value than individual rights. This thinking is based on the assumption that individual rights tend to be valued as western influences. At the same time, the most crucial thing in developing countries is the community’s interests.
Since the 1960s have struggled to raise the issue of the third generation of association rights, namely the right to peace. This historic event, known as the “Declaration of People’s Rights to Peace”, was recognized in 1984. Two years later, it was followed by the birth of “the “Declaration on the Rights to Development”” in 1986, namely a declaration on the right to development. Based on the statement, the protection of freedom of association in general, according to the concept of developing countries, is a must that must be carried out by their respective governments.
Developing countries’ concept of the right of association is reflected in their views. The fulfilment of development rights means that the rights of association, including the right of association, must be fulfilled. This right to development by developing countries has been used as an excuse to take part in the international world, oppose colonialism in other forms and seek to reform the order of their respective national lives. Through the right of development in the political field, citizens can exercise the right of association by establishing political parties. Through the right of development in the socio-economic area, citizens can exercise this right to establish trade unions.
The literature review shows that in some developing countries, there is a strong tendency for government intervention in industrial relations. In countries where unions are still weak, all labour laws and regulations require the government to participate in union-related matters. As happened in Asian countries, including Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, and the Philippines. The labour regulations in that country give the government the power to control the activities of trade unions so that they are in sync with the development process, or at least not too far away from the development reference in the country concerned.
This condition reflects the limitation of the right of association, which is limited to the government’s will. This is reflected in various laws governing the procedure for making agreements in the form of Collective Labor Agreements and their implementation. The system for recognizing trade unions and the desire to control trade unions at the will of the government. In India and Pakistan, this has become a significant problem in developing labour laws and protecting the right of association for workers in their countries.
The same situation is experienced by countries in the Asia Pacific, namely Indonesia. The main problem lies in limiting the functions of trade unions in fighting for workers’ rights. From the viewpoint of the interests of freedom of association, the implementation of these rights is hampered by government intervention. So that these rights cannot be appropriately realised. Obstacles and interference from the government on the freedom of association is a form of violation of the rights of citizens, which will eventually lead to human rights violations.