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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

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29 June 2020

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Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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FWRM Welcomes C190 Ratification to end Gender Based Violence in the Workplace 29/06/2020

FWRM Welcomes C190 Ratification to end Gender Based Violence in the Workplace

29/06/2020

FWRM welcomes the ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 190 on the prevention of gender-based violence in the workplace.

The Fiji Parliament unanimously voted for the ratification of the Convention 190 in May. The Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) commonly referred to as C190 recognises that gender-based violence in the workplace must be eradicated to ensure equality, human rights and dignity in the workplace. C190 was adopted on 21 June setting a new global standard on safe workplaces free from violence and harassment.

“This is a milestone moment for Fiji and the world. We are the first in the Pacific to ratify this convention and second in the world. We commend the commitment from our leaders to end violence in the workplace,” said FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh.

“It’s crucial now more than ever to ensure safe workplaces with the coronavirus pandemic bearing down on us and leading to job losses and a severe strain on our economy. C190 can contribute to a more comprehensive and gender-responsive approach during this recovery period.”

According to FWRM’s 2016 research, 1 in 5 Fijian women were found to have been sexually harassed in the workplace. This was follow-up research from a 2002 study, of which FWRM used the findings to lobby for strengthened protection for women in the Employment Relations Act (ERA). The 2016 research findings were also used as part of FWRM’s NOT OK! Stop Sexual Harassment Campaign that was later adapted into a regional campaign.

“We commend the ratification of C190 and look forward to continuing this momentum for improved protection of women and marginalised workers in the workplace. This is also an opportunity to strengthen national awareness and the implementation of some of the progressive laws like the ERA,” said Ms Singh.

FWRM notes with concern the gender analysis on the Convention from the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence which states, “The Convention is gender-neutral and therefore benefits all genders.”

“The ILO Convention recognises gender-based violence where women and marginalised groups in the workplace are more likely to experience harassment and violence. This must be addressed with gender-responsive legislation and policies and not gender-neutral language. We’re at a pivotal moment of over 3 decades of research, advocacy and lobbying from FWRM and women’s groups to shed light on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and gender-based violence in the workplace. This work needs to be recognised to inform national commitment and the work going forward,” said Ms Singh.

“This is a groundbreaking Convention which the ILO adopted and should not be treated lightly to champion Fiji’s publicity in the global stage.”

FWRM emphasised that ratifying this Convention will hold the State accountable and transparent to protecting the principles of decent work, equal opportunity, economic and human rights.

END

For more information contact Communications Officer Maryann Lockington at 8677330 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.