Brussels – In the EU countries the 32% of all reported cases of sexual harassment the perpetrator was someone related to the woman’s employment: colleague, boss or customer.
The alarming figures are behind the Commission’s decision to call all EU member states to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work, adopted June last year during the Centenary of the International Labour Organization, the UN agency for the guarantee and enhancement of respect of Human Rights in the workplace.
“The adoption of ILO Convention No. 190 and Recommendation No. 206 recognizes the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment”, it is stated in the official text of the UN agency’s Convention.
The Commission adopted a proposal for a Council decision allowing Member States to take forward the process of ratifying it at national level as it cannot ratify ILO Conventions because the EU is not a member of the UN Organisation. That means such Conventions can be ratified at national level only.
Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Right, stressed that “the new Convention is a much-needed international instrument to protect everyone’s right to a workplace free from violence and harassment. Once adopted, this Decision will support Member States in leading the way for its ratification and implementation.”
According to a survey on violence against women conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 1 in 2 women in the EU said they have experienced some sort of sexual harassment at least once since the age of 15.
The UN Convention on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work recognises that violence and harassment at work can be a human rights violation or abuse, posing a threat to equal opportunities. The Convention sets the legal frame of definition of “violence and harassment in the world of work” stating that everyone in the world of work has the right to be free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence.