Though the 21 June 2020 represents the 12 month anniversary of the ILO Convention on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment at Work, the Federal Government is yet to take any steps towards its ratification.
Last year, this ground breaking convention was successfully negotiated and adopted overwhelmingly at the International Labour Organisation in Geneva. The two-year negotiation included ACTU and other world trade unions, ILO member governments and employer organisations.
The ILO Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 established for the first time an international standard to prevent and eliminate violence and harassment at work. It places obligations on governments to develop national laws prohibiting workplace violence, and on employers to take proactive steps to prevent violence and harassment.
Violence against women has been recognised as a human right violation since the 1993 UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna. However, it has taken until the adoption of this Convention and Recommendation to have a dedicated instrument that specifically addresses gender based violence in the world of work.
The official adoption of Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 was a key milestone for labour rights and women’s rights.
Uruguay and Fiji Lead the World in Ratification of C190
Ratification is the process where a country’s government states its intention to be bound by the ILO Convention and accepts to apply the ILO Convention in law and practice without reservation.
The Uruguay and Fiji have now become the first two countries to ratify the convention in their respective parliaments, thus allowing the convention to enter into force.
While the Australian Government voted in favour of the ILO Convention 190 and the associated Recommendation 206 to eliminate gendered violence at work, it is yet to ratify the ILO Convention.
Until Federal Government ratification, C190 and R206 will remain aspirational for Australia society.
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