The ILO is the only tripartite U.N. agency. Since 1919, it brings together governments, employers and workers representatives of member States to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all workers.
ILO’s work on violence and harassment against women is guided by the 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work; the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (No. 111) and Recommendation (No. 111), 1958; the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29); the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No.182); the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (No. 97); the Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143); the Workers with Family Responsibilities Convention, 1981 (No.156), the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169); the Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No.183); the Domestic Workers Convention (No. 189) and Recommendation (No. 201) , 2011; the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204); and the Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation, 2017 (No. 205). The ILO's supervisory system ensures regular monitoring of the application of these Conventions in law and in practice, through the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, formed by independent experts, and in the context of the tripartite Committee on the Application of Standards.
Furthermore, the International Labour Conference adopted, in June 2009, the Resolution concerning gender equality at the heart of decent work, which states that gender-based violence in the workplace should be prohibited. They further recommend that policies, programmes, legislation, and other measures, as appropriate, should be implemented to prevent it and that Governments should develop gender equality indicators which could include violence against women in the workplace.
Most recently, the ILO has adopted the Violence and Harassment Convention No.190 and its supplementing Recommendation No.206. The process behind these instruments began in 2015, and – with the recent global outcry against violence and harassment – their adoption could not be more timely or relevant. Convention No. 190 and Recommendation No. 206 are the first international labour standards to provide framework to prevent, remedy and eliminate violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence and harassment. The Convention includes the specific recognition, for the first time in international law, of the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, and sets out the obligation to respect, promote and realize this right.
ILO’s action concerning violence and harassment in the world of work includes sexual harassment, all forms of gender-related discrimination at work, forced labour and trafficking, and child labour. Devoting special attention to women, the ILO addresses violence against migrant workers, pregnant workers and workers with family responsibilities, domestic workers, many of whom are women, as well as indigenous and tribal women. It undertakes policy development, research, operational activities, awareness-raising activities and supervision of the application of the relevant International Labour Standards. The ILO’s approach to violence and harassment against women is embedded within a Decent Work framework and includes preventing discrimination based on gender, exploitation and abuse through the promotion of gender-responsive, regulated and managed migration policies, bilateral and multilateral agreements, maternity protection and labour standards for migrant workers and workers with family responsibilities.
In the context of capacity building, the ILO provides technical support in the area of discrimination, violence and harassment in the world of work to its constituents in a number of countries. Most recently action on policy and legal advice, training and awareness raising has been undertaken in Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Kuwait, Jordan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, occupied Palestinian territory, Peru, Senegal, Thailand and Viet Nam. The ILO Better Work Programme, in partnership with the International Finance Corporation pays specific attention to preventing sexual harassment in the garment industry in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Jordan, Nicaragua and Viet Nam. The ILO also contributes to several inter-agency mechanisms concerned with this issue and has launched its own internal anti-sexual harassment campaign.
In 2001, ILO established a broad-based technical cooperation programme, the Special Action Programme to combat forced labour, to spearhead ILO activities against forced labour, including trafficking, irregular migration and bonded labour, aimed at addressing all aspects of forced labour. Under this programme, projects have been implemented in Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, the Russian Federation, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong SAR, and Nepal.Hide
ILO’s Labour Standards Department, in cooperation with ILO’s field offices, provides technical advice on policy and legislation, and conducts training on sexual harassment legislation and policies for constituents. Recently work has been undertaken in this area in the Asian region, in particular Malaysia, China and Pakistan, as well as in the context of the annual training at the ILO training centre in Turin on international Labour standards and gender equality. ILO also implements technical cooperation projects on child labour, migration, trafficking and forced labour in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.Hide
In November 2013, the second Gender Academy, supported by ILO, UN Women and the European Commission, was held at the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITC-ILO). The Academy examined policies and methods to respond to gender-based violence and risks at work. More information is available at: http://gender.itcilo.org/cms/ https://www.unwomen.org/lo/news/stories/2013/11/development-professionals-to-attend-ilo-gender-academy#sthash.4mn4Iy9X.dpuf In July 2013, ILO held a technical experts meeting for ILO constituents in Member States in the Pacific Islands sub-region on Gender and Decent Work which also addressed the topic of Ending violence against women in the Pacific. Other UN entities participated, including UN Women, UNDP, UNFPA, UNAIDS participated.Hide
The ILO launched on March 2018 an Office-wide campaign to combat all forms of sexual harassment and misconduct within the ILO.
A technical cooperation project, established by ILO, to address trafficking in human beings covering Albania, Moldova and the Ukraine provides social, economic and psychological support to victims of trafficking. IOM has one global assistance project targeting all developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and over 120 counter-trafficking projects targeting over 100 countries in Africa, Asia, Central, Eastern and Western Europe, and Latin America. In 2005, IOM’s Working Group on Gender Issues at Headquarters supported and contributed funding for staffing a 24-hour hotline for victims of trafficking in South Africa.Hide
The ILO Better Work programme has continued developing tools to prevent and address sexual harassment in garment factories following surveys with workers which revealed this issue being of significant concern. A factory kit with different awareness raising material directed to management, supervisors and garment workers has been developed and disseminated and piloting of factory-level training in has been conducted in Jordan. More information is available at: http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/features/WCMS_216898/lang--en/index.htmHide
An ILO programme, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), on Economic Empowerment and HIV Vulnerability Reduction along Transport Corridors in Southern Africa, reported that acceptance attitudes towards violence, through project interventions, such as education on gender equality, had significantly decreased. The project has a strong component on violence against women and focuses on building women’s economic resilience, business skills and related capacities.Hide
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the ILO, in collaboration with the UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, UN Women and the NGOs IBFAN-GIFA, launched the “Maternity Protection Resource Package. From Inspiration to Reality for All”. The package provides information, inspiration and tools to help organizations and individuals everywhere to strengthen and extend maternity protection to women in all types of economic activity. An ILO feature story on the issue of maternity-related discrimination at work was also published, available at: http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/features/WCMS_193975/lang--en/index.htmHide
Evidence from new studies in three countries on the impact of domestic violence in the workplace was presented by ILO during the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). More information is availbable at: http://www.ilo.org/gender/Events/WCMS_208336/lang--en/index.htmHide