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Home News UN labour body to draft sexual harassment treaty

UN labour body to draft sexual harassment treaty

Published on 08/06/2018

The UN's labour body agreed Friday to draft an international treaty to protect workers from sexual harassment and violence, as the #Metoo movement continues to reverberate and shame perpetrators around the world.

Wrapping up their annual meeting in Geneva, members of the International Labour Organization agreed on the need to “adopt standards on violence and harassment in the world of work”.

“These standards should take the form of a Convention,” said a text adopted Friday.

The ILO, which groups 187 member states along with labour unions and representatives for leading employers, agreed the treaty would be debated and voted on at their 2019 annual conference.

The decision comes as the #MeToo movement continues to make waves around the world, with victims coming forward to report sexual harassment, sometimes by leading figures in industry and the arts.

While final agreement on the new ILO convention is not expected until next June, members agreed Friday that the treaty should aim to prevent “a range of unacceptable behaviours and practices, or threats thereof.”

They said it would target behaviours “likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm.”

Each state ratifying the text will need to recognise “the right to a world of work free from violence and harassment”.

They will have to ensure that national legislation bans all forms of violence and harassment at work, to establish and strengthen enforcement and monitoring mechanisms, provide sanctions and ensure remedies and support for victims, among other measures.

High-profile allegations of sexual abuse and harassment began surfacing last year, notably against US film producer Harvey Weinstein and then ballooned as the #Metoo moverment went global.