International

ILO adopts #MeToo treaty against harassment at work

Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labour Organisation, delivers a statement, during the closing session of the the 108th International Labour Conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labour Organisation, delivers a statement, during the closing session of the the 108th International Labour Conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.   | Photo Credit: AP

U.S. votes in favour, Russia abstains, Iran signals issues

The U.N. agency overseeing international labour standards adopted on Friday a new treaty against violence and harassment in the workplace, fuelled by the women’s #MeToo movement.

The convention, which will be binding on governments that ratify it, was agreed by a wide margin on the final day of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) annual conference of governments, employers groups and workers.

“For the very first time ... the international community has equipped itself with a global instrument to combat violence and harassment at work,” ILO director-general Guy Ryder said after its adoption to cheers.

The #MeToo movement, sparked by allegations in Hollywood in 2017, cast a harsh light on widespread patterns of sexual harassment or abuse in multiple spheres of life.

It has led to dozens of powerful men in entertainment, politics and other fields being accused of sexual misconduct.

Gained momentum

The century-old ILO began its first discussions in 2015, Mr. Ryder said, adding: “The momentum and the significance of this process has been accentuated by the #MeToo movement.”

The treaty aims to protect workers, irrespective of contractual status, from harassment in the work place. It also covers work-related trips, training, social activities, communications and commutes.

Mr. Ryder said the next step was national ratifications.

All but six governments voted in favour of the pact, with Russia, Singapore, El Salvador, Malaysia, Paraguay and Kyrgyzstan abstaining, ILO records showed. Employers representatives from Malaysia and several Latin American countries voted against it.

Iran’s representative said the treaty should be considered in accordance with each country’s national context, norms and values. The Islamic Republic, which voted in favour, said it had a policy of “zero tolerance” against workplace harassment.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 5:59:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/ilo-adopts-metoo-treaty-against-harassment-at-work/article28102513.ece

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