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Commission encourages member states to ratify International Convention on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work




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The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Council Decision allowing member states to take forward the process of ratifying at national level the Convention on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.

The Convention, adopted during the International Labour Organization (ILO) Centenary in June 2019, is the first international instrument setting out global standards on work-related harassment and violence.

Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit said: “The new Convention is a much-needed international instrument to protect everyone's right to a workplace free from violence and harassment. Once adopted, this Decision will support Member States in leading the way for its ratification and implementation.”

Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli said: “Violence against women at work affects us all – the victims of course the most, but also the colleagues and teams around them. The International Convention is the legal solution ensuring that women and men do not suffer from violence and harassment at work. I encourage the member states to ratify this Convention. We must all do our part to bring about real change towards gender equality.”

The Convention recognizes that violence and harassment at work can be a human rights violation or abuse, posing a threat to equal opportunities. The EU cannot ratify ILO Conventions because the EU is not a member of the organization, only member states can ratify such Conventions.

When the ILO instrument touches on EU competences, a Council decision authorizing ratification is required.According to the survey on violence against women conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 1 in 2 women in the EU said they have experienced some sort of sexual harassment at least once since the age of 15. Of all sexual harassment, in 32% of the reported cases, the perpetrator was someone related to the woman's employment (colleague, boss or customer).

More information about the Convention is available on the ILO website.


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