FG seeks collaboration on campaign against workplace harassment, violence –labour minister

The Federal Government has called on stakeholders to collaborate with government in the campaign against workplace harassment and violence in the country.

The Minister for Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, made the call on Tuesday, in Abuja, at the opening of a two-day stakeholder sensitisation workshop on ILO Convention 190 (C190) on Violence and Harassment and Elimination of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the workplace.

The minister, who was represented at the workshop by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Yerima Tarfa, said that Convention 190 was the first international treaty to recognise the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence.

He added that eliminating harassment and violence in the workplace aligned with the Federal Government’s determination to create an enabling work environment for men and women in the country, as applicable in developed economies.

The minister also said that the Federal Government was committed to ratifying ILO Convention 190, Recommendation 206 on Violence and Harassment.

This is to strengthen the already existing institutional and legal framework to fight violence and harassment, as well as GBV in the country, he said.

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He added that the workshop was meant to create awareness and sensitise stakeholders and the general public on the ills of gender-based violence, as well as the importance of C190 in combating violence and harassment, including GBV in the world of work.

According to Ngige, the workshop was to also generate awareness amongst relevant stakeholders on the need to ratify the Convention.

He said that the C190 represented an opportunity to shape a future of work based on dignity and respect for all, while creating awareness on the importance of C190 would serve to generate public acceptance of it.

The minister noted that GBV would impact negatively on the world of work and impede the realisation of “Sustainable Development  Goals, particularly Goals 5 and 8 on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, and Decent Work and Economic Growth respectively”.

“Due to the critical nature of the Convention, ILO has embarked on a global campaign to build support for C190, inviting all its constituents, stakeholders and civil society to join hands to ensure wide acceptance of the Convention.

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“This is with the goal of having Member States ratify and implement the provisions of the Convention all around the world.

“It is expected that governments of Member States that ratify C190 will put in place the necessary laws and policy measures to prevent and address violence and harassment in the world of work,” Ngige said.

He explained that as part of efforts to check violence and harassment and GBV, Nigeria already had in place a Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) on Gender-Based Violence in addition to the declaration of a state of emergency on GBV by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

“The inauguration of the inter-ministerial Gender-Based Violence Management Committee; the Senate approved of the Sexual Harassment Bill.

“Furthermore, in June 2021, the National Human Rights Commission, the Nigeria Police, and the National Agency for the Prohibition if Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) signed an agreement to formally join forces to combat GBV,” he said.

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Earlier, in his address of welcome to participants, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Yerima Tarfa, said the workshop was part of the preliminary activities towards the ratification of the convention.

Tarfa said the workshop was also convened to ensure wide acceptance and facilitate a smooth ratification of ILO Convention 190, adding that although Nigeria was yet to ratify the C190, the Federal Government had always ensured best practices in Labour Administration.

Also speaking, Ms Vanessa Phala, Director, ILO Country Office, represented by Mrs Chinyere Emeka-Anunu, pledged the commitment of the ILO to continue supporting Nigeria its journey to the ratification and implementation of C190.

Present at the event were representatives of the Minister for Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen; Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC). (NAN)

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