The Young Urban Women’s Movement (YUWM), a programme under ActionAid Ghana, has called on government to take steps to ratify the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 190 (C190) on violence and harassment in the world of work.
The ILO C190 is a comprehensive international regulation, which addresses the full range of issues relating to Gender Based Violence in the world of work and recognizes that violence and harassment in the world of work can constitute human rights violation as well as a threat to equal opportunities.
Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 are the first international legal standards that recognises the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment.
The Convention is also aimed at promoting a general environment of zero tolerance to violence and harassment and to facilitate the prevention of such behaviours and practices.
Ms Bridget Dedaa Darfour, Public Relations Officer, Young Urban Women Movement- Greater Accra Chapter, in a statement signed and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Tema said “the ratification and effective implementation of Convention 190 (C190) and Recommendation 206 (R206), would be essential to address the scourge of violence and harassment in the world of work, and particularly the prevalence of gender-based violence.”
It said: “research conducted by ActionAid Ghana in collaboration with YUWM in 2018 revealed that 44 per cent of young urban women in the informal sector suffered ‘repeated sexually-oriented behaviour such as touching, rubbing, or groping’ while 49 per cent had been ‘sexually abused in the world of work’, and 44 per cent had been “harassed more than once.”
The statement said there had been an alarming surge in cases of domestic violence worldwide because of confinement measures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and that C190 and R206 set out clear steps that governments and social partners should take to mitigate the impacts of domestic violence, including violence perpetuated against individuals who work at home.
According to the statement, whilst the attention of Government of Ghana was imperative for saving lives and livelihoods under threat due to this unprecedented pandemic, it urged the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to, as a matter of urgency, ratify and implement the ILO Convention 190 as part of measures to curb the effects of the pandemic.
“The ratification and proper implementation of C190 and R206, would be urgent to address the scourge of violence and harassment in the world of work, and particularly the prevalence of gender-based violence,” it added.
It further stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had, however, exposed and exacerbated the urgency as they had witnessed an unacceptable rise in violence and harassment against workers, especially workers in the informal economy.
“Whilst the attention of governments is focused on saving lives and livelihoods under threat because of this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, we would urge the President, through the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, to see to the Ratification and implementation of C190 as part of response measures to curb the increasing negative effects of the pandemic,” it said.
The statement further called on Members of Parliament to raise the issue of ratification on the floor of the House and demand accountability from the government in this regard.