Delegation of the European Union to the
UN and other international organisations in Geneva

ILO - ILC 108 - Committee on violence and harassment in the world of work - EU Closing Statement

Geneva, 20/06/2019 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 190703_5
Statements on behalf of the EU

ILO - 108th Session of the International Labour Conference Geneva, 10 June – 21 June 2019 Committee on violence and harassment in the world of work - EU Closing Statement

Thank you, Chair.

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania[1], the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.

We would like to warmly thank the Chair and the Vice-Chairs for leading the discussions in an efficient way. We also would like to thank the Office for their support and guidance. We express our appreciation to the interpreters for facilitating the Committee’s work.

We said at the beginning of the Conference that given the seriousness of the problem and the existing gaps in protection and prevention, it was essential that Violence and Harassment be tackled in a comprehensive and inclusive manner. On the occasion of the ILO’s centenary, the adoption of the first international instruments on this topic demonstrates the vitality of the Organization and the crucial importance of social dialogue and tripartism.

Let me again thank all participants for their constructive and engaged work towards achieving consensus even on the more difficult issues.

The approach of the EU and its Member States throughout the Conference has been to actively and constructively contribute to the negotiations.

There is a clear need to act- no one should have to choose between their right to work and their right to live free from violence and harassment. That is why it was so important to find common ground on issues on which constituents had different views.

The EU and its Member States are very pleased that the Violence and Harassment Convention and Recommendation provide a coherent and comprehensive framework for protecting victims of violence and harassment in the world of work through an inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach.

We note with satisfaction that the new Convention and Recommendation recognise the importance of a work culture based on mutual respect and human dignity in preventing violence and harassment, and set out an effective and complementary set of remedies and support services for addressing this unacceptable behaviour. The instruments likewise acknowledge the effects of violence and harassment on victims’ health and dignity and the negative impact on the world of work. The new instruments will be essential in bringing together governments and workers’ and employers’ organisations to tackle this injustice.

The ambitious result of discussions during the past two weeks is fully in line with the key principles of non-discrimination and gender equality on which the European Union is founded. Throughout the negotiation process, the EU and its Member States have underlined the need for a binding international agreement that provides adequate protection and remedies in cases of work-related violence or harassment. The reference in the Recommendation to applicable international labour standards and international instruments on human rights ensure that vulnerable groups and groups in situations of vulnerability will be protected in an inclusive manner and that no one is left behind.

The international #metoo movement has been ground-breaking in raising awareness of violence and harassment in the world of work, and the instruments will contribute to this wave as a powerful and binding international response. We are honoured to have been able to contribute to the first ever international agreement on this crucial topic. It is our sincere hope that its implementation will make difference to the lives of those suffering or at risk of violence and harassment around the world.


[1] The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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